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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Witness: Spader complained of paper misspelling name

3:25 p.m.

Nashua gang leader Chad Landry told the court that among the several “kites,” or secret jailhouse communications, that he received from Steven Spader were about Spader’s annoyance that The Telegraph occasionally misspelled his name.

Landry testified against Spader as the eighth day in Spader’s trial started to wind down.

“We started reading the Nashua Telegraph,” Landry said. “He said he was very upset about his name being misspelled.”

Indeed, Spader penned a letter to that effect while he was incarcerated and sent it to Telegraph editors. It arrived in March, a second more detailed letter was received in mid-July.

“I recently began subscribing to your newspaper, and it has been brought to my attention that in every single article you print in regards to myself and my case you misspell my name,” Spader wrote, stressing that his first name is spelled Steven, not Stephen. “I am going to correct you now and hope that further articles written about me have my name spelled correctly.”

A quick review showed the paper spelled his name wrong seven times in the nine months of coverage following the incident.

While he chastised the paper for getting his name wrong, Spader also complimented the paper’s coverage in his hand-written letter. “I do enjoy your objective writing on this case, and the fact that whoever does your writing does mostly facts and not opinions,” he wrote. “I just ask that you spell correctly.”

He signed the letter and penned “Please & Thank You” at the bottom.

CNN crew shows up at trial

1:55 p.m.

The Spader trial has gone national, as a crew from CNN has arrived on Spring Street in their big, white SUV with New York plates.

The reporter half of the equation, often referred to as the “talent,” breezed in looking for the courtroom and asking for “the person with WUMR,” meaning, of course, the representatives of WMUR-TV, Channel 9, which is providing the video feed for all media.

It’s unknown if CNN plans to go live, tape a segment for later, or grab some footage and try to interview trial principals for a future news or feature segment.

Two Spader friends, Jillian Baptist and Jennica McInnis, are the most recent witnesses to take the stand; Baptist, of Amherst, is a senior at Souhegan High, after attending Bishop Guertin High in Nashua her junior year, where she played field hockey.

McInnis, who continues to testify, is a Bishop Guertin senior and lacrosse player. She was also asked about the events surrounding the October 2009 Guertin football game and Spader and Gribble’s trip to the Pheasant Lane Mall to allegedly pawn jewelry. Also an 18-year-old Souhegan High senior, McInnis was mostly composed, but edgy on the stand. She giggled nervously now and then when she misunderstood a question.

Victim’s mom takes stand

1:20 p.m.

One of the briefest appearances yet on the stand was just completed in about two minutes, when Kimberly Cates’ mother, Lynette Piasecki of Arizona, confirmed a piece of jewlery was hers, given to her by Kimberly.

Cash for Gold worker ‘shocked’

11:40 a.m.

A witness with more than one connection to the alleged perpetrators of the Mont Vernon home invasion is on the stand at this time.

Christy Michaud, 21, formerly of Amherst and now of Manchester, was working at Cash for Gold, a pawn-shop type kiosk at Nashua’s Pheasant Lane Mall, when Steven Spader and Christopher Gribble came in to pawn some jewelry they are accused of stealing from the Cates home after the assaults.

Michaud also grew up a neighbor of accused participant William Marks, who just finished his testimony against Spader. She was also friends with Merrimack murder victim Christopher Vydfol, who was killed just days before the home invasion that left Kimberly Cates dead and her daughter Jaimie fighting for her life.

Thirteen months ago, Michaud, a slight young woman with long, dark hair, was among the first to register shock upon learning of the invasion – and that her friend Marks and acquaintances Spader and Gribble, whom she’d seen at the kiosk just a day earlier, were arrested.

“I was shocked,” Michaud said in a March 2010 interview with The Telegraph. “I couldn’t believe I had just seen them. We were all shocked there was even a murder in Mont Vernon and that it was kids we knew and went to school with.”

Spader and Gribble told Michaud they bought the items for $20 at a yard sale. But later that night, when a Milford police detective visited Michaud at home and asked questions about the transaction and other things about Spader and Gribble, Michaud said in the interview, she was shocked.

Marks coping in prison

11:20 a.m.

William Marks is doing as well as can be expected for a 19-year-old in lockup, one of his attorneys said Wednesday morning after Marks completed his testimony in the Steven Spader trial.

As for Marks’ testimony, Penacook attorney “Scoop” Leahy said, the youth “did the best he could in answering everyone’s questions truthfully.” The agreement Marks made with the state called for him to testify in Spader’s and Christopher Gribble’s trial and tell the truth.

Leahy and Marks’ co-counsel, former Massachusetts state trooper Robert Jubinville, have collaborated on other cases, Leahy said, but not very often.

Leahy bears a bit of a resemblance to flamboyant Boston lawyer Barry Wilson, who most recently represented Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, who last week was convicted of taking bribes from constituents.

Media drag after long night

10:40 a.m.

Media is generally a tad tardy this morning, what with pervasive election-night hangovers dogging many representatives. Marks continues on the stand as court has resumed after a morning recess.

More than half the witnesses on the state’s list still await their turn on the stand, and whether all will be called remains a mystery.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 31 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.