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Staff photo by Don Himsel Christopher Gribble arrives for a change of venue hearing in Hillsbrorough County Superior Court in Nashua, New Hampshire Monday, Dec. 20, 2010.
Friday, December 24, 2010

Gribble decision sealed by judge

NASHUA – The judge in Christopher Gribble’s insanity trial sealed from public eyes her decision on whether Gribble’s confession to New Hampshire State Police should be thrown out as evidence.

Judge Gillian Abramson issued the decision “under seal” on Dec. 20, according to a document posted recently on the state courts’ website.

In September, Gribble’s attorneys, public defenders Donna Brown and Matthew Hill, filed a motion to suppress the interview troopers John Encarnacao and Jeff Ardini conducted with Gribble on Oct. 4, 2009, hours after the murder of Mont Vernon mother Kimberly Cates and attack on her then 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie Cates.

Brown and Hill argued in their motion to suppress and at a Dec. 6 hearing on the motion that the 21-year-old Brookline native’s statements were not voluntary and violated his Miranda rights.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said it was clear any methods police used to question Gribble – appealing to his conscience, challenging him and accusing him of lying – were ineffective because during the first portions of the questioning Gribble stood up to them, maintained his innocence and accused police of trying to mess with him by playing good cop/bad cop.

During the same hearing Gribble admitted to taking part in the attack but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His lawyers have also filed motions to limit what pictures prosecutors are allowed to show the jury and to prevent them from glaring at Gribble as they did at Stephen Spader during his October trial.

Gribble’s trial is scheduled to begin in February.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.