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

Monday August 29, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Woman dies of injuries in Highway 120 accident

08/24/2016

The woman who spent Monday night pinned in an SUV after an ... more

Jobs program seeks to help young adults

08/25/2016

Kristina Contreras was 18, a high school dropout, and the mother of ... more

Bus driver shortage causes problems for schools

08/25/2016

A widespread shortage of bus drivers has left schools across the county ... more

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt to remain in prison

08/23/2016

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt won’t be getting out of prison anytime soon. ... more