SPRINGFIELD -- After a day of sorting through potential jurors to sit on Adam Lee Hall’s murder and kidnapping trial, half of the 16 jurors have been chosen.
Among the problems in seating a jury is the expected length of the proceedings, which involves three separate cases from 2009, 2010 and 2011, and could take up to six weeks.
It was slow going Monday as many potential jurors were dismissed based on financial hardships associated with the length of trial.
Others were excused when they said they would not be able to overlook Hall’s association with the Hells Angels or the fact that the alleged victims were dismembered.
Several people said that if Hall didn’t take the stand in his own defense, as is his fundamental right to do, they would hold it against him. The judge dismissed them outright.
Hall, 36, of Peru, is facing 22 crimes, including multiple counts of murder, kidnapping, witness intimidation, and single counts of armed robbery, extortion and manufacturing cocaine, among other charges. He is being tried in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield because of pretrial publicity in the Berkshires.
Hall, with the help of 46-year-old David Chalue, of North Adams, and Caius Veiovis, 32, of Pittsfield, is accused of kidnapping and murdering David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell in August 2011. The defendants have denied the allegations and remain in jail without bail.
A fourth defendant, David Casey, 65, of Canaan, N.Y., is facing accessory charges for allegedly using his excavator to help bury the victims’ bodies. Casey, who is expected to take the stand for the prosecution in the Hall case, remains in jail on $1 million bail. He too has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Police say Glasser was killed to keep him from testifying against Hall in an upcoming trial. The other two men were killed to eliminate any witnesses, said police.
In July 2009, Hall allegedly beat Glasser with a baseball bat and made him sign over the title of his truck in retaliation for a suspected theft. The next year, Hall attempted to discredit Glasser as a witness through a scheme to frame Glasser for a fake armed robbery across the border in New York state, according to police.
Glasser, along with his two friends, disappeared just weeks before he was scheduled to take the stand against Hall.
On Monday, Hall, sporting a new haircut and neatly trimmed beard, actively conferred with his attorney, Alan J. Black, during jury selection.
At one point during the screening process, a potential juror admitted telling others that she had heard Hall was being held in jail. This explicitly went against Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder’s order that the potential jurors not discuss the case. She was dismissed.
Black moved to have the entire panel, including four jurors already chosen, dismissed, believing their ability to be impartial could have been tainted by what they heard.
The judge denied the motion, but agreed to bring the already seated jurors back to court before the evidentiary portion of the trial begins next Monday in order to make sure they remained impartial. For the unseated jurors, Kinder specifically asked them if they had discussed the case.
Not long after, another potential juror admitted that she and others had discussed the case, but only about what the judge had told them about. She too was dismissed.
Black renewed his motion to dismiss the entire panel, telling the judge it seemed they couldn’t follow the court’s instructions.
By the afternoon, eight jurors -- five women and three men -- had been selected.
Superior Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder is requiring 16 jurors, which includes four alternates, to hear the case.
Due to several factors, including Friday’s snowstorm and the death of a family member of the judge, the evidentiary portion of the trial won’t start until next Monday.
Jury selection is expected to continue this morning.