Jury selection underway in trial of Rosedale woman

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A Queens judge ruled this week that the panel would be allowed to hear excited statements the sister made to neighbors after the 2001 attack, a spokeswoman for the district attorney said.

Jeanine Dasque had been slated to testify against her sister, Renee Dasque, 39, a former Rikers Island guard, as the key witness in the prosecution's case, but the 33-year-old killed herself in a Long Island hotel room in August.

Renee Dasque is charged with attacking her sister and beating her 63-year-old father to death with a five-foot section of plastic pipe inside their home at 249-11 147th Rd. in Rosedale July 8, 2001.

A neighbor called police after Jeanine Dasque ran out of the house covered in blood screaming and begging a neighbor to call 911 just before 3 a.m. July 8, according to a TimesLedger report at the time. Steve Sclafani, who lived next to the Dasques, said he could not tell where Jeanine had been injured because she was bleeding so heavily, the report said.

When police arrived, they found Jacques Dasque hog-tied in the basement of the house with a fractured skull, broken ribs and a sternum and bruises on his head, neck and arms.

Jeanine told officers and neighbors that her sister Renee, who was on medical leave from the Corrections Department, had attacked her, but she did not implicate her in the death of their father, officials said.

Prosecutors had planned to use testimony from Jeanine Dasque, who needed 80 stitches after the attack, as a substantial part of their case, but she committed suicide five months before she was due on the stand, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Instead, Assistant District Attorney David Guy pushed to use the statements Jeanine made to neighbors and police officers at the scene in lieu of her testimony.

Judge Sheri Roman ruled Monday in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens that the comments, which allegedly incriminate Renee Dasque as Jeanine's attacker, would be allowed into the case, a spokeswoman for the district attorney said.

"The judge ruled that the excited utterances are admissible," she said.

Defense attorney Michael Fishman was unavailable for comment.

The proceedings moved forward after the decision, and jury selection started Tuesday for the trial, which could begin next week, the DA spokeswoman said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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