PITTSFIELD -- Adam Lee Hall, the reputed Hells Angel accused in a triple murder case, has met twice with police -- at his request -- in an attempt to exonerate himself and, in so doing, revealed his attorney's defense strategy, court documents reveal.
Those actions are what prompted Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini to let Hall's attorney, William A. Rota, withdraw from the case.
In his four-page decision released Wednesday, Agostini wrote that Hall's "unusual behavior" has caused Rota "considerable frustration" and has prevented the lawyer from being able to "convey certain basic concepts."
Hall "has totally disregarded [Rota's] advice on fundamental issues and spoken at length without representation with the commonwealth, the party that is seeking to convict him of unspeakable crimes," Agostini wrote.
Hall, 35, has been in jail since his arrest last year. His new attorney had not been assigned as of Wednesday.
Hall's trial hasn't been scheduled, but the next hearing in the case is Oct. 16.
In his decision, the judge wrote that Hall apparently believed that by presenting the Berkshire District Attorney's Office with his defense, he would be able to clear himself of the murders before trial. Rota warned Hall that if he revealed their strategy before trial, prosecutors would then have time to "neutralize" it.
Police say Hall and two others, David Chalue, 45, of North Adams, and Caius Veiovis, 32, of Pittsfield, kidnapped and killed David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chad well in August 2011. The men's dismembered bodies were later found buried in a trench on private property in Becket. Police say Hall did this to prevent Glasser from testifying against him in an upcoming trial; Frampton and Chadwell were also killed so there'd be no witnesses.
Hall met twice with Massachusetts State Police investigators, on Aug. 9 and Aug. 13, and without his attorney's knowledge. Those interviews, which were videotaped, lasted more than six hours.
During the interviews, Hall discloses the defense's trial strategy and tells police that he doesn't trust Rota.
Agostini, who viewed the videotapes, addressed Hall's allegations that Rota had breached the attorney-client relationship and was "trying to sandbag" him. Agostini wrote that the notion of Rota "seeking to sell out" Hall "for no apparent reason appears astonishing."
Agostini called Rota an experienced attorney of 26 years that has represented others in murder trials. Agostini wrote that Rota "is regarded as one of the best criminal defense counsel in Western Massachusetts."
In his written decision allowing Rota to step aside, Agostini revealed little else about the substance of Hall's interviews with police.
Hall, when questioned by the judge during a hearing earlier this month, admitted that Rota was "responsive to his concerns, attentive to the cases and well prepared," according to the decision.
"Whether these allegations are real, delusional or an orchestrated effort to derail the trial schedule is secondary to their effect on the relationship [between attorney and client]," wrote Agostini in releasing Rota from the case.
The conflict between Rota and Hall started when Hall said he was interested in cooperating with law enforcement in order to "resolve his situation," according to Agostini's decision.
Hall met with the FBI behind Rota's back in an attempt to resolve an earlier case. Before that meeting, Rota had advised him not to talk with law enforcement.
"I was reluctant to ask the court to allow me to withdraw, but I believe that it is in Mr. Hall's best interest that he have new counsel. I wish him the best of luck. I will coordinate with his new attorney to transfer the file and assist in the transition in any way that I can," Rota told The Eagle recently.
Hall has five other open cases that go back to 2009 and include kidnapping, gun, drug and child pornography charges. Two of the cases involved Glasser and allegedly were the ones that led to his killing.
Rota is the fourth attorney to pull out of the triple murder case. Veiovis is the only defendant who has had the same attorney, James Gavin Reardon Jr., since being charged.
This may not be the first time that Hall has reached out to police. Days after his arrest last September, court records showed that Hall had approached the FBI in an attempt to become an informant on his Hells Angels colleagues. The FBI rejected the idea.
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