DEDHAM - Once opposed to a motion to sever the homicide trials of Paul Moccia, of Dedham, and Daniel Bradley, of Westwood, the Norfolk County district attorney's office switched course Thursday morning and will agree to separate trials.
in connection to the 2009 murder of Angel Ramirez, of Framingham.
"It is the Commonwealth's position to accept the motion to sever," assistant district attorney Robert Nelson said in court Thursday.
Defense attorney Kevin Reddington, who is representing Bradley, renewed his motion to sever last week on the notion that the district attorney wants to use statements made by Moccia’s sister in her June 2009 grand jury testimony.
In her testimony, Karen Regan said Moccia changed his story several times on whether he had anything to do with Ramirez’s disappearance. At first, Moccia told his sister that he was outside a warehouse and another man was inside and shot Ramirez, according to her testimony, but she never identifies the individual inside the warehouse.
“The government’s response is that she doesn’t name Bradley, but obviously, if you follow the chain, the inference is pretty clear that it implicates Bradley,” Reddington argued last week. “I cannot understand how this evidence can be admitted with the concept of a fair trial.”
Police believe Moccia and Bradley shot and killed Ramirez inside a Walpole warehouse owned by Bradley, and then conspired to dismember and “cook” his body.
Prosecutors argued that they would only use statements made later in Regan’s testimony where she alleges that Moccia told her that he shot Ramirez in the chest.
Steven Boozang, who represents Moccia, and Reddington both argued that they would be forced to bring up previous testimony during cross-examination in order to discredit her as a witness – creating a Catch-22 scenario.
“Mr. Bradley hasn’t said a word to anyone, he hasn’t made any statements, he hasn’t made any admissions, no confessions, no nothing,” Reddington said, “but yet he is going to be forced to go to trial with the statements made by Mr. Moccia.”
Therefore, Reddington argued, if the district attorney wants to use Regan’s statements to try Moccia, they would need a severance.
“The government would have to show there is some type of conspiracy [to allow the full testimony],” Reddington said.
Prosecutors have not alleged that Regan is a co-conspirator in the case.
Judge Kenneth Fishman, who is presiding over the pre-trial hearings, hasn't formally ruled, but said during the hearing that he believed separate trials would occur.
“I contemplate that unless I hear something different, there will be separate trials,” Fishman said.
The state would try Moccia's case first, if the trials are severed, Nelson said.
A trial date is set for May 31, although both defense attorneys have asked Fishman for a continuance.