Breaking News Via The Greenwich Post
The warrants for the two men arrested in connection with the 2006 murder of backcountry resident Andrew Kissel will remain sealed for at least the next few weeks, after a hearing today at Stamford Superior Court.
Judge Richard Comerford scheduled an April 24 hearing to review whether to unseal the warrants, which have been viewed by all attorneys but not released to the public. Unsealing them would allow defense attorneys a chance to move that their be redactions within the documents.
Mr. Kissel was found dead in his backcountry home two years ago today. An autopsy determined he had been stabbed to death, but so far, police have not said what motive the two men had for the killing. That information is included in the warrants....
... Judge Comerford said he is open to the idea of having Mr. Culligan submit a redacted version of the warrant for the court’s review, taking out the supposed prejudicial information. Mr. Culligan was recently assigned to the case and Judge Comerford said he deserved a chance to review the document.
Judge Comerford said he is looking for a “middle ground” between Mr. Culligan’s concerns and the public’s right to know. He said that information will be publicly revealed when probable cause hearings are held in the case.
“Sealing the information is going contrary to the trend of where we’re going in these proceedings,” Judge Comerford said. “The public does have a right to know.”
At the end of the hearing, he added that sealing the warrants “is not serving anyone’s interests.”
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Ferencek, who is prosecuting the case, also asked for redactions. He said the warrants contain information about 30 potential witnesses, 10 of whom, after being contacted by Greenwich Police, asked that their names and personal information not be released for fear of their “safety, privacy and security.”...
...Outside of court, Mr. Urso said he didn’t object, though, to Mr. Ferencek’s motion to redact the names or what Mr. Culligan termed “admissions” in the documents. Mr. Urso said he will review the warrants again but doesn’t foresee asking for any redactions on April 24.
“All the information is going to be out there at some point,” he said. “Carlos has nothing to hide. It is what it is.”
Mr. Urso said his client insists he had nothing to do with the murder but because the attorneys are under a gag order not to discuss the contents of the warrant, he cannot comment on what admissions Mr. Culligan wanted blocked from public view.
Since the documents have not been viewed by the public, there has been speculation about what police learned during the investigation. Mr. Urso previously said police pressured Carlos Trujillo’s family members to give information.
Today, Mr. Urso said, “Without Leonard Trujillo, Carlos would still be out and about and working.”
While the two men were presented jointly at the hearing, Mr. Urso said he doesn’t believe they will end up being tried together. When asked why, he said he couldn’t get into the specifics. Mr. Urso did say, though, that it would be “useful” for him to work with Mr. Culligan as much as possible.
“There’s a lot still up in the air about the case, including the motive,” Mr. Urso said.
He then referred to a comment made by Greenwich Chief of Police David Ridberg at the time of the arrest that the warrant would be a “good story” once people saw it...
A state Superior Court judge this afternoon agreed to have arrest warrants in the Andrew Kissel murder case remain under seal to allow a Massachusetts man charged in the crime a chance to have damaging statements attributed to him deleted. Judge Richard Cumerford granted a three-week extension to the seal so that a lawyer for Leonard Trujillo, 21, of Worcester, Mass., can appear in court April 24 to urge redactions from the warrant on the grounds the material would prejudice his right to a fair trial.
Trujillo is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the April 2006 death of Kissel, who was found in the basement of a home he rented on Dairy Road, stabbed repeatedly and bound.
Trujillo, represented today by Special Public Patrick Culligan, has not entered a plea.
His cousin, Carlos Trujillo, 47, is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the case. He has entered a not guilty plea.
The warrants were ordered sealed last month at the request of prosecutors, who said the investigation into the murder has not been completed. They were expected to be unsealed today, with the judge to decide whether to withhold the names of six witnesses who had expressed concerns about their safety.
Cumerford did not rule on that request, but turned down a motion to keep the warrants sealed until the case goes to trial....
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