Prosecutor concerned over ‘lingering’ Rt. 103 murder case Two to three week spring 2024 trial is anticipated

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2023 Telegraph Publishing LLC

More than three years after the murder of Boston trucker Roberto Fonseca-Rivera, Windham County Deputy  State’s Attorney Steven Brown told Judge Katherine Hayes that he was concerned that the case against Jozsef Piri is not moving at the pace the prosecution thinks it should and that it is “lingering.”

Piri was arrested on Dec. 16, 2021 in Florida and arraigned on a second degree murder charge on Dec. 27, 2021.

Judge Katherine Hayes presiding over the status conference

“This is a status conference,” began Judge Hayes on Thursday. “The case should be relatively close to being trial-ready … no? Mr. Brown is shaking his head.” Noting that a number of deadlines had been extended, Hayes asked “where do we stand?”

Brown explained that a scheduling order signed in June of 2022 required both sides to “generate and exchange a list of witnesses to be deposed” for a status conference that November. Brown told Hayes that the state generated its list of witnesses, but the state never received a list from the defense.

“To have a meaningful status conference we need to know how many witnesses the defense are planning to depose,” said Brown. “I don’t know how to estimate how much time we need without knowing how many witnesses the defense plans to depose.”

Brown noted that the overall witness list included hundreds of names.

Speaking for the defense, attorney Adam Hescock said his side had 55 names they want to depose, a list that Judge Hayes estimated would take “at least six months” to depose. Brown objected, saying that the state did not want it to take that long.

Hescock said it may take less time since 19 are Vermont State Police who would not need to be subpoenaed. He did say, however, that several are out-of-state witnesses that may take longer. Hayes gave the defense until Friday, March 3 to get its list to the prosecution.

Defendant Jozsef Piri attending the conference remotely

Brown asked for a deadline for the defense to have a proposed scheduling order with all depositions to be completed by a specified date. Judge Hayes asked if Hescock could get a proposed schedule for completion of all the depositions within a week. Hescock said he could.

Hescock said the defense was thinking that the trial could take place in the spring of 2024. Brown told the court that the state is prepared to move forward with the trial as soon as it can. Judge Hayes said she hoped it would be early spring of 2024 and estimated that the trial would take two to three weeks.

Brown told Hayes that the state had responded to defense discovery requests and that “that chapter is closed.” Hescock disagreed, noting that some additional discovery needs had not been fulfilled including from federal agencies. One such request had to do with prison phone calls made with a “co-defendant.”

Brown noted that only Piri was charged in the killing but Hescock said he was referring to the federal drug conspiracy case in which Fonseca-Rivera testified against co-defendants and received a lighter sentence. The defense has said in previous filings that the state  did not follow “ample motive and evidence” of an alternate shooter arising from that case.

In saying this, Hescock referred to Fonseca-Rivera as the “decedent,” but Judge Hayes quickly corrected him saying that Fonseca-Rivera was a victim.

“Whether he was Piri’s victim or not, he was clearly a homicide victim,” said Hayes.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: FeaturedLatest News

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.