Disputes Remain Over Evidence for Newton Teens Charged with Murder
Benjamin Peirce and Shaquan Jacobs, both of Newton, are charged in the murder and attempted robbery of 29-year-old Adam Coveney of Waltham.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers continued to tussle over evidence in a local murder trial yesterday during a discovery hearing in Middlesex Superior Court.
Two Newton teenagers, Benjamin Peirce, 18, and Shaquan Jacobs, 19, are charged with murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit armed robbery (two counts) and attempted armed robbery in connection with the Sept. 30, 2010 shooting death of 29-year-old Adam Coveney of Waltham.
The two Newton teens are charged along with Roxbury resident Daniel Louis, whose lawyer joined the defense's argument yesterday.
Peirce and Jacobs pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in November 2010. The trio alelgedly attempted to rob a Newton North student they knew well. When that failed, they met up with Coveney and allegedly brought a gun along with masks, gloves and bleach.
On Monday, lawyers for Peirce and Jacobs argued against the prosecution's request for certain witness statements. The request, which was presented by Assistant District Attorney Elisha Willis, asks the defense to provide the prosecution with any statements made to the defendants by the prosecution's witnesses.
Similar to other evidence, those statements should be provided to the prosecution prior to trial, Willis argued.
The defense lawyers, though, argued that the prosecution's request is too broad and potentially a violation of their clients' Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.
"[The Commonwealth] is asking for things beyond what they are entitled," said Peirce's lawyer, John Salsberg.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman said yesterday she will take the Commonwealth's request for witness statements "under advisement."
Judge Tuttman is also considering the defense request to suppress certain statements made by Peirce and Jacobs to police. Those lengthy evidentiary suppression hearings were held late last year and Tuttman said she will likely have a decision in the next two weeks.
During Monday's discovery hearing, Tuttman also ordered a protective order on one piece of evidence. That evidence, a handwritten letter, is potentially exculpatory evidence to one or more of the defendants, lawyers said.
To protect the author of the letter, the assistant district attorneys requested the defendants not see a copy of the letter. In addition, related documents — including the police report letter — have been impounded, or not made public.
The trio charged with murder is due back in court in late June. At that time, Assistant District Attorney Willis said she expects DNA results to be ready.