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Staff photo by Don Himsel

Christopher Gribble enters the courtroom for a hearing Monday, Jan. 10, 2011.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gribble trial hearing set on evidence

NASHUA – The next hearing in Christopher Gribble’s murder case is scheduled to take place Feb. 4, court records show.

While jury selection for Gribble’s trial is scheduled to begin on the last day of February, a hearing has been tentatively scheduled at 10 a.m. Feb. 4 on the reliability of scientific evidence to be raised in the case. The hearing previously was scheduled Dec. 24 and then Jan. 24. So far, no disputes have arisen over scientific evidence, according to court records.

Gribble, 21, of Brookline, has admitted his role in the Oct. 4, 2009, Mont Vernon home invasion and murder of Kimberly Cates and attack on her then 11-year-old daughter, Jaimie Cates.

He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, so his trial will focus on his mental state, with defense lawyers having the burden to prove that his actions were a result of insanity.

A final trial management conference is scheduled 10 a.m. Feb. 11, and jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Feb. 28, when Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson will instruct the first group of potential jurors about the law and their role.

Instruction will continue March 1, and lawyers will begin questioning and selecting individual jurors March 2, continuing until 16 jurors are seated.

Gribble and several co-defendants have been jailed since their arrests shortly after the murder. Gribble faces life in prison, without chance of parole, if convicted of first-degree murder. He also is charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to murder and burglary, and witness tampering.

Three other youths involved in the home invasion pleaded guilty and agreed to testify for the prosecution, and the co-defendant in Cates’ murder, Steven Spader, was convicted and sentenced last year to life in prison.

Andrew Wolfe can be reached at 759-2808 or