Lawyers for the second man charged with murder in a deadly machete attack and home invasion in New Hampshire want prosecutors barred from glaring at him during his upcoming insanity trial.
Attorneys for 21-year-old Christopher Gribble of Brookline also want to stop prosecutors from using family photographs of the victims or describing them as a "loving and caring family."
Gribble has admitted he helped kill Kimberly Cates and maimed her daughter in their Mont Vernon home, but he says he was insane at the time. His trial is scheduled to begin in February.
Steven Spader was convicted in November of murder and other felonies for killing Cates, 42, and maiming her 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie. Prosecutors say Spader wielded a machete and Gribble hacked at the victims with a knife.
Defense attorneys Matthew Hill and Donna Brown base their motions in large part on their observations during Spader's trial. During arguments to the jury and occasionally while questioning witnesses, prosecutors Jeffery Strelzin and Peter Hinckley would stand in front of the defense table and glare at Spader. Such conduct is an effort to convey to the jury how the state feels about the defendant and "only serves to exacerbate the shocking and emotional nature of the evidence in this case," the defense attorneys said.
They want Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson to order prosecutors to "not glare at/or stare down" their client during trial.
During Spader's trial, prosecutors projected onto a screen photographs of the victims that Hill and Brown say "have no relevance in this case. The only purpose of this evidence is to evoke sympathy."
Gribble's lawyers also want prosecutors barred from using terms like "slaughter, horror or ambush" during the trial, saying those words are inflammatory. Hill and Brown also want to exclude testimony from victims' relatives about gifts they gave Kimberly Cates that were stolen during the home invasion. The lawyers called that testimony emotional and not relevant.
Prosecutors have yet to file a response to the motions. Abramson will hear arguments on them Jan. 10.
Gribble and his lawyers return to court next week to argue a motion to move the trial to another judicial district. The judge denied a similar motion in Spader's case.
By Lynne Tuohy, The Associated Press
Source: The Boston Globe