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  • Christopher Gribble watches New Hampshire State Police Sargeant John Encarnacao walk to the witness stand Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 to testify in a hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire.(AP Photo/Don Himsel)
  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Dressed in a suit, defendant Steven Spader enters the courtroom on the first day of his trial in Hillsborough Superior Court Tuesday, October 26, 2010. Spader is charged with allegedly killing Kimberly Cates of Mont Vernon in her bed, and severely injuring her daughter in the attack.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gribble to argue publicity in murder case makes fair trial unlikely

NASHUA – Arguments over whether Christopher Gribble can receive a fair trial in Hillsborough County have been scheduled for next week.

Gribble, 21, of Brookline, faces first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the Oct. 4, 2009, Mont Vernon home invasion and murder of Kimberly Cates, and attack on her 11-year-old daughter.

Gribble and his lawyers argue that publicity surrounding the case, particularly from co-defendant Steven Spader’s recent trial, will make it difficult to find impartial jurors to hear Gribble’s case. Spader was convicted and is serving life in prison without chance for parole.

Gribble’s lawyers have asked that the trial be moved to another county, or alternatively that they be allowed more time and leeway to question jurors about potential bias. Judge Gillian Abramson is scheduled to hear arguments on the matter at 1 p.m. Monday , court records show.

Among the people called to testify at the hearing is Dave Solomon, The Telegraph’s executive editor, about the number of papers sold and website visits during Spader’s trial, the number of people who viewed the paper’s live feed of the trial and the number of people who commented on stories about the trial, according to the subpoena.

Gribble has admitted he helped to kill Cates and attacked Jaimie Cates with a sword, but he argues he was insane. A second hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 24, on the reliability of scientific evidence to be raised in the case. So far, however, no disputes have arisen over scientific evidence, according to court records.

Gribble spoke with police at length after his arrest, admitting his role and leading investigators to a wooded area where he and others had buried evidence, police said. Abramson heard evidence and arguments Dec. 6 on whether his statements can be used as evidence, but she has yet to rule on the matter.

Andrew Wolfe can be reached at 759-2808 or