Trial of Accused Arsonist to be Held in Springfield
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — The trial of a man accused of burning several houses, resulting in the deaths of a man and his son, has been moved.
During a pre-trial hearing Thursday, Judge Constance Sweeney ruled that the trial for Anthony Baye will be held in Springfield rather than Northampton.
Baye is accused of setting more than a dozen fires back in December 2009 in Northampton.
Two people, 81-year-old Paul Yeskie Sr. and his son, 39-year-old Paul Yeskie Jr., died in one of those fires.
Baye faces 42 charges, including multiple counts of arson and two counts of murder.
The decision to move the trial was objected by prosecutors.
“We’re disappointed because the citizens of Northampton and Hampshire County, particularly Ward 3 were going to have that opportunity to be right near the trial proceedings,” said Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan.
Sullivan says the logistics won’t affect their case.
“We’ll try the case here. It won’t be tried any differently. We’ll be presenting the same evidence It will be a fair trial for everyone,” says Sullivan.
Judge Sweeney noted that she was concerned about logistics in providing a fair trial and transporting jurors every day from Springfield to Northampton.
The defense team also filed a motion to exclude prosecution testimony that one person set all the fires.
They brought in their own expert Kevin Kelm to refute the claim that one person was responsible.
“We brought in perhaps the leading expert in the country from Kentucky who testified that no legitimate expert should be making that sort of determination,” says Attorney Tom Lesser.
Judge Sweeney says she’ll rule on the defense motion by Monday.
Jury selection begins Monday with opening arguments tentatively set for Wednesday.