Pittsfield triple murder trial date still in limbo
PITTSFIELD -- A sense of frustration hung over Friday’s hearing in a triple murder case in Berkshire Superior Court that was originally scheduled to hash out a trial date in the more than year-old proceedings, but ended with little accomplished.
"My client wants a trial and he’s entitled to a trial. Š He has been sitting in solitary confinement for more than 15 months," said attorney James Gavin Reardon Jr., who represents Caius Veiovis, one of three men facing three counts of murder along with other charges.
Adam Lee Hall, 35, of Peru -- an alleged member of the Hells Angels -- David Chalue, 45, of North Adams, and Veiovis, 32, of Pittsfield, are accused of kidnapping and killing Pittsfield residents David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell in August 2011.
The case against the men has languished due in part to three defense attorneys stepping down for various reasons and Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless re-indicting the defendants. Another factor that has slowed progress, in the opinions of the defense attorneys, is the ongoing nature of the investigation into the homicides by the DA’s office.
Attorney Alan J. Black of Northampton, who represents Hall, said he received seven banker’s boxes worth of material when he took over the case in October. He told the court he had only made it through about half the material and had received more material since he stepped in as Hall’s lawyer.
Attorney Donald W. Frank, who represents Chalue, said there were about 4,500 pages of evidentiary material and that the DA handed them another 20 compact discs of material on Friday.
Reardon told the court there should be an "end date" for the investigation.
"[Capeless is] continuing the investigation and we have to play catch up," said Reardon.
Capeless fired back that his office would continue investigating "this right up to trial. Š We’re not going to stop."
One of the latest moves in the DA’s investigation were searches of the defendants’ jail cells, according to what defense lawyers told the court on Friday.
The results of the searches weren’t publicly available, but at least some of the discs the defense lawyers received Friday included information related to the search. Black hefted a bag containing the material to demonstrate to the court just how much information was still coming in.
The original purpose of the hearing -- an attempt to set a trial date -- was stymied by Black who said he wasn’t ready to discuss dates. Capeless had suggested September 2013 as a possibility, but the discussion went no further. Frank wondered if the trial would even take place in 2013.
Meanwhile, the three defendants who were indicted and arraigned in October 2011 on multiple counts each of murder, kidnapping and witness intimidation remain in jail without the right to bail. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The police began their investigation after Glasser, Frampton and Chadwell disappeared Aug. 28, 2011 from Glasser’s apartment at 254 Linden St. in Pittsfield. The men’s dismembered bodies were found buried in a trench on private property in Becket on Sept. 10 of that year.
Police say Hall carried out the slaying to prevent Glasser from testifying against him in an upcoming trial; Frampton and Chadwell allegedly were killed to keep them from being witnesses to the Glasser killing.
On Friday, Reardon told the court that the attorneys hadn’t seen any information of when or where the dismemberment took place or any weapons that may have been used for that purpose.
A fourth defendant, David Casey, 64, of Canaan, N.Y., allegedly used his excavator to help bury the bodies and was charged as an accessory after the fact, saying Hall intimidated him into helping with the burial.
According to his attorney, Thomas J. Donohue Jr., Casey, his health failing, is sitting in jail on $1 million bail. His attorney was trying to get Casey’s case severed from the others, but no action has been taken in that regard.
Based on what the attorneys said Friday there will be requests to sever the cases from one another and to try the cases outside of Berkshire County, among other motions.
Judge Daniel A. Ford set a Jan. 31 hearing date and told the attorneys to have a list of what motions they planned to file and when they would be ready to argue them in court. The judge also hoped they would be far enough along by the January hearing to set a trial date.
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