SPRINGFIELD -- The trial of David Chalue, who allegedly assisted Adam Lee Hall in the murder of three Pittsfield men, is set to begin April 22.
But where that case is tried remains to be seen.
Chalue, 46, of North Adams, is accused of helping Hall kidnap and murder David Glasser, Robert Chadwell and Edward Frampton in August 2011. Hall was convicted earlier this month on 15 of 19 counts he was facing -- including three first-degree murder charges.
In a pretrial conference Monday, Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless and Chalue's attorney, Donald Frank, discussed trial scheduling and three new motions introduced by the defense -- including one to move the trial outside the Springfield area.
Frank argued Chalue would not be able to receive a fair trial in Hamden Superior Court, where Hall's trial was held due to extensive pre-trial publicity in the Berkshires.
Submitting a motion to relocate the trial to Hampshire County Superior Court in Northampton or farther east, Frank produced a CD containing more than 500 pages of coverage from the Springfield Republican and The Berkshire Eagle newspapers.
"That trial was blogged... almost on a daily basis," he said. "The coverage was extensive."
Chalue's name was mentioned in relation to Hall in much of the reporting, Frank argued, diminishing his chances at a fair trial and finding impartial jury members in Hamden County.
""I think he may be able to receive a fair trial in Hampshire County," Frank said. "Certainly Worcester or anywhere east of Worcester."
But Judge Jeffrey Kinder said he was "struck by the relative ease" of selecting a jury in the Hall ease, and early indications were that it could be the same for Chalue. Capeless seconded those sentiments, and Kinder took the motion under advisement.
"This is a Berkshire County case," Capeless said. "There is not that kind of emotional attachment [in Hamden County]."
Frank also submitted a motion seeking more access to his client and potential witnesses. He asked that Chalue be moved from Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction closer to his law offices.
"I have a two-hour drive each way to see my client," Frank said.
Capeless deferred to officials at the jail, noting that moving Chalue is "a security issue."
In that motion, Frank also cited difficulty in interviewing potential witnesses at the jail. He said that before he is allowed to speak to an inmate who might serve as a witness, he's forced to get the inmate's attorney's permission -- a standard that does not apply to the prosecution, he said.
Kinder said that the policy "sounded reasonable," but he took the motion under advisement.
A third motion by the defense asked for a jury viewing of the jail facility where witnesses allegedly heard Chalue admit to the murders.
After visiting the jail, Frank said he doubted Chalue could have established a relationship with the witnesses and that they could have heard him admit to a crime. Frank added it is "essential that the jury take a view and listen to the acoustics."
Kinder also took this motion into advisement.
Frank also hinted that he will be meeting with a cellular technology "expert" in the near future, who may be able to testify in relation to Chalue's whereabouts at the time of the slayings.
A pretrial conference also was heard for the third defendant in the murder, Veiovis, to discuss scheduling of the trial. Veiovis' attorney, James Reardon, recommended the trial start in the summer, while Capeless asked that it be pushed to September.
"My client has been sitting the longest time in solitary confinement," Reardon said.
No trial date was set for Veiovis. Chalue and Veiovis were not present at the conferences.
The final pretrial conference to review all motions will be held on April 11.
To reach Adam Shanks:
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