Judge denies Chiesa request

archive_import /

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Despite his lawyer's requests, a Wallace man charged in the shooting deaths of his two neighbors will stay put for his murder trial in Calaveras Superior Court.

Peter Chiesa, 64, faces two first-degree murder charges for the June 25, 2002, slayings of Annette Truman, 41, and Leslie Hannameyer, 42. His trial begins July 16.

Chiesa pleaded not guilty to both charges in October.

Chiesa's attorney, Clyde Blackmon of Sacramento, asked Calaveras Superior Court Judge John Martin on Friday to move the trial elsewhere. Blackmon said newspaper coverage of the murders has already turned many Calaveras County residents against Chiesa, and that would hinder his client's right to a fair trial.

But Martin denied the request.

"We put out evidence that we thought was presented well, and certainly it was valid information," Blackmon said yesterday.

He said he has 60 days to challenge the court's decision.

"We haven't made a decision yet" to challenge it, Blackmon said.

Calaveras County Deputy District Attorney Seth Matthews said Blackmon's request was "denied without prejudice" meaning Friday's ruling could be reconsidered if it becomes difficult to find a jury.

"They'll have another shot at it," Matthews said.

According to court documents, Blackmon hired an independent firm to survey Calaveras County residents about the Chiesa case.

Of the 400 people interviewed, the firm stated, half said Chiesa was "definitely guilty," and that 70 people said he was "probably guilty."

Matthews' written rebuttal stated that people surveyed were first asked if they had seen, read or heard anything about the case in which Chiesa is accused of killing his two neighbors, with whom he had a long-running dispute over a shared driveway. The argument turned deadly when the two women and their sons were clearing some lopped branches away from the drive.

Someone who had never heard of the case could analyze the question and draw a conclusion, Matthews said.

11501347
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Saturday May 28, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s deputies respond to alarm at Sonora KFC

05/26/2016

Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies responded with guns drawn to a holdup alarm ... more

Avalon Care Center fined for patient death

05/24/2016

Avalon Care Center in Sonora has been fined $80,000 by the California ... more

UPDATE: Probe begins in Don Pedro fire

05/25/2016

Investigators began sifting through the rubble of the Don Pedro Recreation Agency ... more

Homelessness, high school and the Butte Fire

05/20/2016

Cole Baisch arrived at Calaveras High School around lunchtime as the sky ... more

Deputies visit schools, build community ties

05/24/2016

You would think Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputy Nate Yorston was Santa Claus ... more