Defense attorneys say they fear pretrial publicity will make it a fair trial difficult.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A judge in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court is expected to decide today if a capital murder trial should be moved to another county.
Judge Peter Kontos told attorneys Monday in Stanley Adams' capital murder trial that a motion filed by defense attorneys will be considered during an early morning hearing.
Ted Macejko Jr. and Mark Lavelle, court-appointed attorneys representing Adams, filed a motion Monday asking the court to have the trial moved because of local pretrial publicity.
The judge had denied an earlier motion, but defense attorneys said they decided to ask again after the Warren newspaper ran a long article about Adams on Sunday. The attorneys said they fear the publicity will make it difficult for Adams to receive a fair trial.
Prosecutor Dennis Watkins declined to comment.
Effect on schedule: Court officials say if the motion is granted, it could be several weeks before officials decide where and when the trial will be held. If the motion is denied, attorneys will continue with jury selection. Court officials said they think a jury could be selected sometime today.
Attorneys have spent about two weeks questioning potential jurors for Adams' double-murder trial.
Court officials said the lawyers have selected 30 potential jurors but want a pool of 37. Once that pool is formed, 12 jurors and four alternatives will be chosen to hear the case.
The charges: Adams faces charges of aggravated murder in the deaths of Esther Cook, 43, and her 12-year-old daughter, Ashley. Their bodies were found Oct. 11, 1999, in their Dickey Avenue home.
The charges carry specifications that the killings occurred in conjunction with other crimes. Adams also is charged with three counts of rape and one count each of kidnapping and aggravated burglary.
If convicted of all the charges, he could face the death penalty. Adams is being held in the county jail without bond.
Court officials said it will take about two weeks for both sides to present evidence.
Adams was convicted in October of the Aug. 6, 1999, murder and rape of Roslyn Taylor, 40, of Poland Township. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Officials don't know if Taylor knew Esther or Ashley Cook.
Authorities have described Adams as a self-employed auto mechanic who lived with the Cooks for a short time.
Adams has maintained his innocence in all three slayings.