Judge moves arson, murder trial of Anthony Baye to Springfield
Anthony Baye, left, listens to one of his attorneys, David Hoose, prior to his arraignment Thursday in Hampshire Superior Court. Purchase photo reprints »
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney Thursday ordered the arson and murder trial of Anthony Baye moved from Northampton to Springfield. Purchase photo reprints »
SPRINGFIELD — Saying she is “insecure about maintaining the integrity of the jury,” Hampden Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney today ordered the upcoming Anthony Baye arson and murder trial will be held in Springfield.
Sweeney, who is presiding judge in the Baye trial, said in court today that though she knows it will inconvenience people from Northampton, “it’s a 15 mile drive and we’re not in the buggy days.”
Though jury selection was planned to be in Springfield next week in order to seat jurors who are not overly familiar with the case, the trial itself was to be held in Hampshire Superior Court, with jurors ferried to Northampton from the Springfield court.
Today Sweeney said she has decided for “logistical” reasons, that plan is not the right one.
Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan argued against the change of venue in court, saying that there are may witnesses and victims who will be testifying who will be extremely inconvenienced. Sweeney noted Sullivan’s objection, but stuck with her decision.
Baye, 27, of 85 Hawley St., faces two murder charges and multiple arson charges in connection with about 20 fires in Northampton, including more than a dozen that terrorized the city when the broke out on the same night, Dec. 27, 2009. Among those fires was on Fair Street that killed Paul Yeskie Sr., 81, and Paul Yeskie Jr., 39.
Also today, Sweeney heard testimony from an expert witness the defense hopes to call, Kevin Kelm, who would challenge the prosecution’s contention that a lone arsonist set all the fires.