Accused arsonist Anthony Baye waives right to be tried within one year of arraignment on arson charges

Last modified: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NORTHAMPTON — Accused arsonist Anthony Baye, who is charged with setting a fire that killed a father and son in Northampton, has waived his right to be brought to trial within a year of his arraignment.

According to the Northwestern district attorney’s office, Baye agreed Wednesday in Hampden Superior Court to the trial schedule established by Judge Constance Sweeney in September.

Jury selection is set to begin May 6, 2013, more than two years after Baye’s arrest in connection with the alleged arson spree in December 2009 that killed Paul Yeskie and his adult son Paul Yeskie Jr., both of Fair Street.

By telephone on Wednesday, special prosecutor Brett Vottero said Sweeney agreed the hearing probably wasn’t necessary but was a precautionary measure in case there is a delay in bringing the case to trial.

At a hearing in September, Vottero asked Sweeney to consider a trial date of early December 2012, but Baye’s attorneys said they would require more time to review evidence and collect testimony from experts.

At that hearing Sweeney agreed that a December trial date was “too optimistic” and set the May date after speaking with the attorneys involved.

Sweeney said, however, there would be little opportunity to alter the trial schedule once it was set.

“I’m going to be taking this schedule very seriously,” she said at the time.

Baye was arrested in January 2010 after more than a dozen fires were set in homes, cars and outbuildings, primarily in the Ward 3 neighborhood of Northampton, early on the morning of Dec. 27, 2009. Baye has been jailed pending his trial on charges including murder, arson and burglary.

In July, the state Supreme Judicial Court threw out portions of Baye’s recorded interview with police, which prompted the district attorney’s office to drop some of the charges against Baye. He remained jailed on $150,000 bail on six counts of misleading police.

Eight days later, prosecutors re-indicted Baye on 42 counts, including the original charges, and added new arson charges resulting from suspicious fires in the same neighborhood beginning in January 2007. Six of the charges carry potential penalties of life in prison if Baye is convicted.

The deadline for motions to be filed in the case is Jan. 14, and a hearing on those motions is scheduled for April 1 in Hampshire Superior Court.

Baye’s trial could last up to a month, according to defense lawyer David Hoose.


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