SPRINGFIELD -- The Berkshire District Attorney and the attorney for accused killer Adam Lee Hall clashed Thursday in Hampden Superior Court over the state of massive amounts of evidence turned over to the defense in the case.
Attorney Alan J. Black complained that thousands of documents from the prosecution have no dates stamped on them, which was making it "difficult to organize" with just weeks to go before the trial starts on Jan. 6. He said he could be missing important information he will need at trial.
He asked Superior Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder, who is overseeing the sprawling triple murder case, to order Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless to create a master list of all the evidence that has been turned over thus far.
Capeless said he had tried to work with Black, but hadn't heard back from him. According to the DA, every packet of documents he turned over to the defense contained a list of what was included. He argued that forcing him to create a master list would take away from the time he needed to prepare for trial.
The rift between the two lawyers also was evident in the two separate pretrial reports filed with Kinder on Thursday. Normally, the prosecution and defense hand in a joint report that is meant to give the judge an idea of what the trial will look like, including what witnesses and evidence both parties plan to use.
Black said the district attorney refused to sign off on his version of the report.
"Mr. Capeless was irritated by my pretrial memorandum," he told the court.
Kinder asked the lawyers to "work cooperatively to share information" and finally told them both that "he had heard enough."
Hall, 36, of Peru, is the first of three defendants scheduled to be tried on triple murder charges. He, along with David Chalue, 46, of North Adams, and Pittsfield resident Caius Veiovis, 32, are accused in the killing of three Pittsfield men -- David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell -- in August 2011.
The three defendants have denied multiple counts of kidnapping, murder and witness intimidation. They remain in various jails around the state and are being held without bail.
Police say Glasser was killed to keep him from testifying against Hall in an upcoming trial and that the other two men were killed to eliminate any witnesses.
The three men are having separate trials, with Hall going first, followed by Chalue, who is scheduled to be tried beginning April 17. Veiovis' trial will follow Chalue's.
Although it's a Berkshire County case, the trials have been moved to Springfield because of pretrial publicity.
None of the defendants were present in court on Thursday.
Thursday's hearing also saw Chalue's attorney, Donald W. Frank, allege that police investigators had taken confidential documents from his client's jail cell. He said although the documents eventually were returned, the act violated the client-attorney privilege.
"I don't know how long they had it or who had it," he said.
He asked the judge to order the DA's office to provide a list of anyone who had seen the material and to order them to destroy any copies made of the documents.
Frank said he might be seeking "sanctions" against the DA's office, but didn't elaborate as to what those might be.
Capeless said Frank was making some "bold assertions." He said the documents were taken with a warrant and were only those Chalue had shown to another inmate, which made them evidence in the case.
The judge said he would take Frank's request under advisement.
The day ended with allegations that an attorney working under Frank misrepresented herself to Berkshire County Sheriff's deputies in order to see a state's witness who is currently incarcerated at the jail here. Attorney Thomas J. Donohue Jr., who represents the man, said the woman and a private investigator spoke with his client and suggested he reconsider testifying. Donohue told the court the behavior "approaches witness intimidation."
According to Frank, the woman didn't misidentify herself, but did omit the fact she was working for Frank on the Chalue case.
The judge reprimanded the behavior telling Frank, "I hope we never have to revisit this again." Another hearing date has been set in the Hall case for Jan. 3.
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