UPDATE: Adam Lee Hall's trial in triple murder case will be held in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD -- A Hampden Superior Court judge has decided that triple murder suspect Adam Lee Hall will be tried outside of Berkshire County, citing "sensational" media reports the case has generated and the county's small pool of jurors.
"I am mindful of the high burden the defendant must meet to establish presumptive prejudice in Berkshire County. However, considering the totality of the circumstances in this case, I am satisfied he has done so," Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder said in his written decision issued on Thursday. "After a hearing ... I am persuaded that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to select an impartial jury in Berkshire County."
Kinder normally sits in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield, where he will hear Hall's case.
The judge also decided that separate trials were warranted for Hall, 36, of Peru, Caius Veiovis, 32, of Pittsfield, and David Chalue, 46, of North Adams, who are accused of killing three city men in 2011.
Hall is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 6. The date and location of trials for Chalue and Veiovis have not been decided.
In the ruling to move Hall's trial, the judge said the nature of the media coverage, which he said included "gruesome details" of the murders and descriptions of the facial tattoos and horn implants of Veiovis played a part in his decision. He acknowledged that the case has received publicity outside Berkshire County, but he said that the other media reports have been "less prominent" than those here.
"I am confident that a significant number of Hampden County residents will either not have been exposed to media coverage of the case, or because they are not as invested in the case as residents of Berkshire County, will be able to disregard it and decide the case only upon evidence presented at trial," wrote Kinder.
The request to hold Hall's trial outside Berkshire County came from his lawyer, Alan J. Black.
Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless opposed the move, telling the court that it would add an undue burden on the victims' families and on the prosecution's witnesses, among other arguments.
Kinder based his decision to try the men separately in part on the argument of Veiovis' lawyer, James Gavin Reardon Jr., who said that the "quality and quantity" of evidence against his client is much less than that of the other defendants and that it would be unfair to try Veiovis with Hall and Chalue.
He also denied Capeless' request to push Hall's trial from January to at least March in order to allow for DNA testing on three items that were not previously tested. The judge said that the prosecution has had ample time to get the items tested since they have been in their custody for more than two years and the trial date has been known since May.
Police allege Hall, a ranking member of the local Hells Angels chapter, and his two co-defendants, kidnapped David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell in the early hours of Aug. 28, 2011, and then killed them. The victims' bodies were later found buried in a shallow trench in Becket. Police determined the men had been shot to death and their bodies dismembered.
Glasser was allegedly killed to prevent him from testifying in an upcoming case against Hall. Police said the other two men were killed to prevent any witnesses.
The defendants have denied multiple counts each of murder, kidnapping and witness intimidation. They are being held without bail.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 21.
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