Lawyer seeking experts in double homicide defense

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PARIS — The lawyer for one of two men accused of a double homicide last summer is asking for several thousand dollars to have independent experts analyze the state’s evidence and determine the man’s culpability.

George Hess is representing Eric Hamel, 19, of Mexico Avenue in Mexico. Hamel, along with 20-year-old Richard Moulton of Franklin Street in Rumford, are charged with the murders of 48-year-old Roger Day Jr. and 22-year-old Victor Reed Sheldon on the evening of Aug. 3, 2009.

Hess is also requesting that several statements and pieces of evidence taken by police be suppressed.

Justice Robert Clifford has approved a request for $4,000 for a psychologist for Hamel. Hess said in his motion that he believes Hamel was suffering from a “mental health disorder” when Day and Sheldon were killed. Hess said that under state law, a defendant can be found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity, or an abnormal state of mind can raise reasonable doubt as to a defendant’s culpable state of mind.

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Hess said in the motion that he will have a forensic psychological examination done by Dr. Andrew Wisch of Rockland. Hess said Wisch bills services at $200 an hour, and estimated that the process would take 20 hours.

“Throughout his academic years, [Hamel] was classified as [a] special education student, was socially withdrawn, and consistently non-communicative,” Hess said in the motion.

Defense lawyer Ron Hoffman has filed a similar motion in the case of Hamel’s co-defendant. Clifford approved $3,500 for Dr. Charles Robinson, a forensic psychologist from Manchester, to conduct an examination of Moulton. Hoffman said in his motions that he feels Moulton has “mental limitations” and said Robinson’s examination would take 20 hours at $175 per hour.

Hess is also seeking funds for two experts to conduct independent investigations into the case. He said the state is likely to pursue a case saying Hamel was the only shooter in the murders. However, scientists at the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory reported finding a bullet and bullet fragment in the bodies that appeared to be from two different firearms, he said.

Hess said the lab offered conflicting conclusions on their ballistics findings, and that he is pursuing the idea that alternate suspects may have been involved in the crime. He is asking for $3,000 to hire William E. Duke, a former Massachusetts State Police major who now works as an independent ballistics expert, at a rate of $200 per hour.

Hess is also asking for $4,000 to hire a DNA expert to determine the “accuracy and reliability” of DNA evidence the state is likely to present at trial. He said he would hire Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, associate provost and professor of biology and immunology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.

According to police reports, Hamel and Moulton admitted to planning the murders of Day and Sheldon. Hamel told police that Moulton was upset because Sheldon had assaulted his ex-wife, who was dating Moulton at the time. Hamel said he shot both men to death with a revolver at Day’s residence on Pine Street before burying the weapon off Oak Street. He later led police to the gun.

In another series of motions, Hess is asking Clifford to suppress statements that Hamel made to police. Hess said the statements were involuntary and that Hamel did not waive his Miranda rights. He said Hamel did not consent to a DNA swab taken by police, and that police did not obtain a warrant to do so, and asks that the sample be suppressed.

Hess is also asking to suppress any evidence gathered as a result of searches at Hamel’s residence, as well as searches of his computer hard drive and MySpace account, saying there was no probable cause to conduct the searches. In addition, Hess requests the suppression of an out-of-court identification of Hamel, arguing that it was “impermissibly suggestive and the identification was unreliable.”

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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