SPRINGFIELD -- Jurors will be allowed to hear evidence that accused murderer Adam Lee Hall was a member of the Hells Angels, a judge ruled Thursday as a 17-person jury was seated in Hall’s trial.
After three days of jury selection, 10 women and seven men -- five are alternates -- were chosen to hear the case against Hall, who is accused of kidnapping and killing David Glasser and two other men in August 2011.
The jury, made up of both black and white members of the community with such jobs as an office manager and a medical technician, is expected to hear opening statements in the case Monday.
The process has been slow, with many potential jurors balking at the length of trial -- four to six weeks -- and others specifically saying they couldn’t be fair jurors after being told they might hear evidence concerning Hall’s affiliation with the Hells Angels.
During a motion hearing Thursday, Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder ruled the prosecution can tell the jury that Hall was a member of the Hells Angels. Black said it would be prejudicial to his client, but Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless asserted it was essential.
"It’s the persona he wants to project to others," said the DA, who has previously said Hall used his affiliation with the club to intimidate people.
The prosecutor acknowledged the case was not "a Hells Angels case," but that it would be impossible to avoid mentioning the organization during trial.
Black wanted any references to the Hells Angels to be replaced by the phrase "motorcycle club."
Thursday also saw several other decisions by the judge, including splitting off three charges from the 22 Hall is facing. Those charges -- manufacturing cocaine, carrying a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of a stun gun -- will be dealt with in a separate trial after the judge determined they were not connected to the other charges that directly relate to Hall’s alleged interactions with David Glasser.
The other charges came after Hall’s 2009 arrest. Police said they found an illegal double-edged knife and a stun gun in Hall’s vehicle and discovered cocaine at his Peru residence while executing a search warrant related to an earlier case involving Glasser.
In two other motions, Black wanted a collection of weapons -- knives, blades and hatchets -- and plastic bags and rubber gloves kept out of the trial. He said none of the items had blood or DNA connecting them to the victims.
Capeless said the weapons and other material were taken from the homes of the defendants and would be used by the prosecution to show Hall and his two co-defendants had access to these items. The judge denied Black’s motions.
Black also asked to keep out any opinion evidence that the weapons found at Hall’s residence were used in the killings.
The DA said they would not be offering that opinion to the jury.
"I wish we could," retorted Capeless, about not being able to tie the weapons directly to the deaths.
Kinder also is allowing the prosecution to refer to Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell as "victims" at trial. Black had asked that the word not be used.
"I’m hard pressed to see how they were not victimized in this case," Kinder said.
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Adam Lee Hall, 36, of Peru, is facing 22 charges, including multiple counts of murder and kidnapping from three separate incidents from 2009 through 2011. He allegedly beat David Glasser with a baseball bat in July 2009 in retaliation for a suspected theft and then tried to discredit Glasser as a witness by framing him for a fake armed robbery in New York state.
In August 2011, weeks before he was to testify against Hall, Glasser and his roommate, Edward Frampton, and their friend Robert Chadwell, all of Pittsfield, disappeared. Their dismembered bodies were found in Becket nearly two weeks later.
Prosecutors say Hall and two others kidnapped and murdered Glasser to prevent him from testifying. The other two were killed to eliminate any witnesses, prosecutors say.
Hall and his co-defendants, David Chalue, 46, of North Adams, and Caius Veiovis, 32, of Pittsfield, have strenuously denied the allegations and remain in jail without bail.
The trials were separated from each other, with Hall’s case the first to be tried. Proceedings were moved to Hampden Superior Court in Springfield because of pretrial publicity in the Berkshires.