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- Judge Gillian Abramson gives the jury instructions in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire. The jury in Steven Spader's trial begins the deliberation process Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. Spader is facing life in prison without parole for his role in the attack and killing. (AP Photo/Don Himsel)
- Prosecutor Jeff Strelzin talks with David Cates in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire after the jury in Steven Spader's trial begins the deliberation process Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. Spader is facing life in prison without parole for his role in the attack and killing. (AP Photo/Don Himsel)
Now with video: Judge tells killer Spader ‘You belong in a cage’
“I could go on for days and days about the depth of your depravity. Suffice it to say, you belong in a cage. And you should stay in that cage for the rest of your pointless life,” Judge Gillian Abramson said during sentencing.
Steven Spader chose not to be heard before sentencing. He uttered only “yes” each time Abramson asked if he understood the terms of the sentence on each count as she read them.
He stared straight ahead blankly, his head cocked to the right, as he listened. Security is heavy.
Afterward, he was escorted from the courtroom without incident, his slender body barely visible in the sea of brown uniform shirts making sure his departure remained without incident.
Prosecutor Jeff Strelzin revealed during a post-sentencing media conference that Spader was admonished more than once for making threatening gestures to witnesses during the trial.
The fact was barely noticed by most, until it was mentioned during sentencing by Abramson. One spectator said he believed Spader, on at least one occasion, drew his finger across his throat while either Quinn Glover or William Marks was testifying on the stand.
Coming on Feb. 11, 2011: The trial for Spader accomplice Christopher Gribble, who faces similar charges.
Defense attorney Jonathan Cohen made a statement to the media.
“We are obviously disappointed with this verdict. Obviously, it’s a very difficult case for all involved, but the fact is we are defense attorneys for a reason. We believe everyone deserves a defense.
“We advocated for our client as best we could.”
“We’re not taking any questions,” Cohen said, interrupting reporters before he and co-counsel Andrew Winters departed the courthouse.
Kim and Jaimie
Portions of David Cates’ victim impact statement:
“She gave so much to everyone she met. … Kim loved Jaimie. … This trial makes me sad that this is how Kim will be remembered.
“Kim was beautiful, her spirit will remain always in our hearts…
“Next, I’d like to talk about my beautiful daughter Jaimie … the emotional scarring is immeasurable.
“What an amazing girl Jaimie is … when she was awake in the hospital, she told me what happen to her mom, and we had a good long cry…”
Before the reading, Spader re-emerged from the holding area into the courtroom, now wearing restraints around his hands and waist. He remained largely expressionless as Cates read on.
Cates, in a strong, level voice, thanked the jury, prosecutors and state’s attorneys, singling out victims advocate Jennifer Hunt for being with him and Jaimie “from day one.”
He went on to thank investigators, the court staff, the support from Mont Vernon and across the country.
“Jaimie and I are so fortunate to have you all in our lives.”
Cates also thanked the media “for their respect during this difficult time.”
“This remorseless act of violence has made our families stronger … the murder of Kim and attack on Jaimie has drawn us closer together.”
‘Maybe the jury will sing’
A review of the tape of the live courtroom feed confirmed an earlier rumor: As Spader and his attorneys were escorted into the courtroom at the start of today’s proceedings, he commented: “Maybe the jury will sing happy birthday to me.”
This is the second birthday that Spader has observed while incarcerated. He turned 18 five weeks after he carried out the Mont Vernon home invasion last year.
Unless a defense appeal is filed and proves successful, Spader will never celebrate another birthday as a free man.
Spader’s parents returned to Courtroom 4 moments ahead of the announcement that proceedings were resuming.
Christine Spader, a tall woman with shoulder-length brown hair, and her husband, Steven W., wearing a suit, sat with obvious pain on their faces as they braced for the possibility of victim impact statements.
Steven Spader left the courtroom for the second time in the last few minutes, escorted under heavy guard out the side door to the ante-room between the holding cells.
Extra court officers have been diverted to Courtroom 4 this afternoon, a pretty standard procedure for the impact statement readings and sentencing phases of such high-profile trials.
A total of seven officers stand and sit at strategic points in the room, flanking the defense table, next to Abramson and in front of each doorway.
Spader guilty on all counts
Abramson just announced that Spader will be sentenced this afternoon. He is guilty on all counts, giving him life in prison with no parole.
It’s unknown if, or when, any victim impact statements will be delivered.
Abramson recessed the courtroom for 20 minutes.
Moments ago, Spader scowled out of the corner of his eye at the jury as members responded to individual polling by Abramson.
Otherwise he showed no emotion. His parents, Steven W. and Christine Spader, sat, grim-faced, in the spectator gallery. David Cates, wiping away a tear, and his supporters remained silent.
Spader guilty, barely blinks
The courtroom was silent as the jury foreperson responded “guilty” to each of the counts against Steven Spader.
Spader is sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole – on his 19th birthday.
Abramson is now polling the jury – each one is asked separately for their individual verdicts.
No emotion was expressed outwardly during the verdict readings.
Spader stood with his attorneys, staring straight ahead, blinking his eyes but otherwise wearing no facial expression.
Minutes to verdict
The first-floor hallway at the Nashua courthouse has taken on a Black-Friday-At-The-Mall flurry in the past 15 minutes, with previously laid-back media videographers scrambling to erect camera tripods and slide out sound sticks in preparation for anticipated post-verdict interviews.
A sure bet to stand in is the prosecution team, with everyone else a wild card.
Seconds ago, at 12:51 p.m., the announcement came over the loudspeaker: “All parties … the Steven Spader trial report to Courtroom 4…”
Countdown to verdict, eight minutes.
11 a.m.: Prosecutor Jeff Strelzin and defense attorney Jonathan Cohen are coming and going from Courtroom 4, which is secured – meaning locked – while the Steven Spader trial jury deliberates the 19-year-old’s fate.
Victim advocate Jennifer Hunt has also been visible in the second-floor hallway, entering the courtroom twice and exiting a short time later.
Spader’s parents, Steven W. and Christine Spader, who have been present the past two days, sat with an older woman on the hallway bench for a time after the jury began deliberations. They chatted quietly, made a couple of phone calls then left the building.
David Cates and about 10 supporters met with Hunt at the other end of the hallway, also departing in smaller groups a short time later.
Jury begins deliberations
10:22 a.m.: With all instructions delivered and alternates chosen, the jury in the Steven Spader trial entered into deliberations at 10:22 on the morning of the day that just happens to be Spader’s 19th birthday.
Now, it’s anyone’s guess how long the jury will deliberate; such a question, not unlike other guessing games, is a frequent subject of friendly office pools, where for a buck or two, players choose a day and time the verdict comes back.
Final jury alternates chosen
10 a.m.: Jurors numbers 3, 9, 8 and 7, in order, have just been chosen alternates, bringing the active jury to the roster of 12 that happens to be evenly split – six men and six women.
The first three alternates chosen are men, the last a woman.
Abramson just called a recess, having finished delivering instructions to the 12 people who will soon begin poring over more than two weeks worth of testimony, much of which was emotional, in the trial of accused murderer Steven Spader.
The atmosphere on the first and second floors of Hillsborough County Superior Court is growing more contemplative by the hour, as spectators, court officers and media alike prepare in various ways to wait in anticipation of a verdict.
When will it come down? What exactly will they find? Will families and supporters on both sides of the aisle react? If so, how? What will prosecutors and defense attorneys do, if anything? If Spader is found guilty and sentenced to life with no parole, will the defense appeal?
The answers will come – eventually.
Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 673-3100, Ext. 31, or firstname.lastname@example.org.