Trial date in triple murder case set for January
PITTSFIELD -- Together in the same courtroom for the first time since their indictments 18 months ago, three men accused in a triple murder case learned Wednesday they could be going to trial in January.
Adam Lee Hall, David Chalue and Caius Veiovis -- charged in the August 2011 kidnapping and murder case of three Pittsfield men -- were brought to Berkshire Superior Court under heavy security and a police motorcade. Outside the courthouse, security included police with machine guns, police dogs, snipers and a law enforcement command vehicle.
During the court hearing, Chalue's and Veiovis' lawyers presented arguments to Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder about whether there is enough evidence to take their cases to trial. They have filed motions seeking dismissals of the cases against them.
Meanwhile, Hall's lawyer, Alan J. Black, spoke only briefly in court on Wednesday. He told the judge that certain evidence, such as Hall's past conduct, shouldn't have been introduced to the grand jury that indicted him.
Ultimately, Kinder set a tentative trial date of Jan. 7, and said he would take the defense lawyers' motions to dismiss under consideration. According to District Attorney David Capeless, the trial could last up to six weeks, if the defendants are tried together.
During the 90-minute hearing, none of the defendants acknowledged the other's presence inside the courtroom.
The defendants' appearances also had changed since previous court hearings. Hall was thinner. Chalue, who had previously had his head shaved, had grown his hair out. Veiovis, who has facial tattoos and horn implants, had grown his hair long and has a long goatee.
All three men are being held without bail at various jails in the state and all have pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of murder, kidnapping and witness intimidation.
During arguments on their motions to dismiss, Veiovis' lawyer, James Gavin Reardon, and Chalue's attorney, Donald W. Frank, contended that the Berkshire District Attorney's Office hadn't presented any evidence to the grand jury that there had been an actual kidnapping. Furthermore, the lawyers said prosecutors don't know the location of the murder scene and hadn't recovered any murder weapons. Additionally, the lawyers said there's no indication where the men were dismembered or discovery of tools used for that purpose.
"They have a theory, judge, but they don't have any facts," Reardon said.
"We don't know where, when or even how [the three victims] left their apartment," Frank told the court.
Frank said there isn't enough evidence to show that the killings even happened in Berkshire County, and surmised they could easily have taken place in nearby New York state.
Hall -- who police say was a ranking member of the local Hells Angels -- Chalue and Veiovis are charged with the kidnappings and murders of David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell in August 2011. Hall, Chalue and Veiovis allegedly kidnapped and killed the men, then disposed of their remains on private property in Becket.
Police said that Glasser was killed to prevent him from testifying against Hall in an upcoming trial, while the other two were killed to prevent there being witnesses.
Capeless countered that there exists plenty of evidence to show the murders took place in Berkshire County, and called it "pure speculation" to think it happened in another jurisdiction.
Capeless said there is "significant" evidence of a kidnapping and that Hall, 36, of Peru, and Chalue, 46, of North Adams, could be placed at the scene of the crimes.
The DA conceded that the evidence against Veiovis, 32, of Pittsfield, is "circumstantial," but said prosecutors still have a strong case against him. Capeless said Veiovis was seen with Hall and Chalue before and after the kidnappings and murders took place.
Veiovis was caught doing "countersurveillance" of the DA's office during the time the three alleged victims were missing and before their remains had been discovered, according to Capeless. Veiovis also was seen at a Home Depot looking at saws and axes before the killings, Capeless said.
Reardon said the only item Veiovis bought that day was a wrench.
A fourth defendant, 64-year-old David Casey, of Canaan, N.Y., was allegedly intimidated by Hall into helping bury the men's remains with his excavator. Charged as an accessory, he remains in jail on $1 million bail.
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