Anthony Baye Northampton murder and arso...
8:55 a.m. Fred Contrada signing in fro coverage of Anthony Baye trial for Masslive and The Republican. Today we will hear opening statements. Following that, the jury will be bused to Northampton to view the scenes of the 15 fires from Dec. 27, 2009
Thursday May 9, 2013 8:58 
8:58 a.m. Unless I'm wrong, it is incorrect to call the opening statements opening arguments. Technically speaking, the sides have not yet presented or rebutted their evidence and so cannot argue it. This is their opportunity to lay out their cases. Although they may recite their views of the facts, the judge will caution the jury that the openings and closings are not in themselves evidence.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:01 
9 a.m. Before we begin, I should correct a mistake I made yesterday. The name of one of the ADAs for the prosecution is Thomas Townsend. I stated his name incorrectly.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:03 
9:06 a.m. Judge Constance M. Sweeney is not yet on the bench, but the courtroom is filling up. There are reporters and photographers and police and Baye's family and some lawyers who are interested in the proceedings. Lawyers often sit and watch good cases, even though they might not be directly involved. Northwestern DA David Sullivan has called this the biggest Hampshire County trial in five decades. Unfortunately, it will not be tried in Hampshire County.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:10 
9:12 a.m. Baye has arrived to a flurry of clicking cameras.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:14 
9:18 a.m. The buzz has hushed as we wait for Judge Sweeney. I don't see Mrs. Yeskie. She is on the witness list, so she might be sequestered until her testimony.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:20 
9:21 a.m. The jury has entered. Still waiting for Sweeney.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:23 
9:23 a.m. Judge Sweeney has taken the bench. She asks the standard question: has any juror seen news accounts of the case or discussed it. No affirmative answers. The jury is sworn in.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:25 
9:25 a.m. Sweeney is spelling out to the jury some of the rules of law, what is evidence, what it means when a judge strikes testimony, why they go side bar, etc. She focuses on opening statements, which are overviews offered by the respective attorneys on behalf of their clients. Please keep in mind, she says, that opening statements are not evidence.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:30 
9:29 a.m. The view. We will be traveling to Northampton and visiting scenes that the attorneys request. They might note the distance between two places at the request of an attorney. It might have meaning later in the case (in deciding, for example, how long it would take a person to get from one place to another).
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:31 
9:31 a.m. The jury may take notes but must leave their notebooks in court. At the end of the trial the notebooks will be destroyed.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:33 
9:32 a.m. The clerk reads the indictments. Baye has pleaded innocent to all charges. There are two counts of murder related to the deaths of Paul Yeskie and Pul Yeskie, Jr., who died when their 17 Fair St, home burned down. Baye is charged with armed burglary in the Fair St. fire, the weapon being a lighter. He is charged with arson for 17 Fair St. He is charged with burning the vehicles of Paul Yeskie, Paul Yeskie, Jr. and Elaine Yeskie.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:38 
9:37 a.m. Baye is charged with arson for the fire at 26 Union St. He is charged with burglary of that home while armed with a lighter.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:40 
9:40 a.m. Baye is charged with arson for the fire at 10 Highland Avenue. There are numerous other counts of arson, attempted arson and burning a motor vehicle.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:43 
9:42 a.m. The prosecution must present evidence for every one of these charges, which probably means a lot of witnesses who had their cars or houses burned.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:45 
9:45 a.m. A garage at 16 Northern Avenue. A house at 11 Crescent St. A house at 5 Crescent St. (attempted). Lots of motor vehicles.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:51 
From the newsroom: We've created a guide to the trial that includes a timeline of events, a list of the charges, the indictment listing the charges, and a map of the fires. The guide is available here (opens in a new tab / window).
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:54 
9:52 a.m. Six counts of intimidation of a witness, for a total of 36 charges. It has taken the clerk 25 minutes to read this.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:58 
9:57 a.m. Vottero begins his opening statement.
Thursday May 9, 2013 9:59 
9:58 a.m. Brett J. Vottero was brought in by Northwestern DA David Sullivan especially to try this case.
Vottero tells jurors they should not focus on how long the case will last. They will hear from about 60 witnesses. Take your life experiences (home, work, etc.) and put them aside, Vottero says, adding: This is a big commitment to your community.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:02 
10:01 a.m. Vottero: I'll tell you now there wasn't a single person who saw the arsonist setting fires on Dec. 27. The arsonist did not leave behind a single piece of evidence. You're going to hear critical facts and words. When you look at the big picture you will be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt about what happened in Northampton.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:03 
10:02 a.m. Vottero: In the time it took the clerk to read the indictments, more than five fires were reported in Northampton. The first one at 26 Union St., called in at 1:58 a.m. Man wakes up and discovers a fire on his porch. He and his father are able to get out. Baye entered the porch, opened the unlocked door and entered with a weapon (lighter), with the intent to commit a felony. That is armed burglary.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:05 
10:04 a.m. Vottero is using a screen with a map to illustrate his remarks. At 18 Highland another fire discovered, car parked in driveway. In the car was a book, a pair of mittens. They were found burned. Attempt to burn a motor vehicle. 32 Highland Avenue fire reported at 2:19 a.m. Bag is burning on the porch. Fair Street, 2:11 a.m. Paul Yeskie Jr. reports a fire on porch, he and his father are trapped, can't get out. There was no way out. Elaine Yeskie and a friend are on second floor and able to get out.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:09 
10:08 a.m. Let's talk about the charge of murder. First degree for two reasons. 1. Baye was armed (lighter). This is one of the elements of murder one. 2. He had the intent to commit an act that is likely to result in death. Extreme attrocity, another of the three elements of first degree murder. (Premeditation is the third). Offier who responded hears voices inside, tried to get inside, can't. There's about 8 minutes between Yeskie's call and the last time voices are heard. Bodies are found in rear bathroom. They were trying to get out the bathroom window. They died of smoke inhalation.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:12 
10:12 a.m. Fire at 25 Williams St. (car fire). By this point firefighters can't respond to all the calls quickly. Next fire at 16 Pomeroy Terrace at 2:35 a.m. Car near house set on fire. Fire at 16 Northern Avenue, starts in a garage. Two vehicles are burned. 11 Crescent (Vottero is noting the relationship between different locations). Smith College police officer reports car fire, evacuates house.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:16 
10:15 a.m. At 5 Crescent Street the owners note the next day attempts to burn objects on their porch. 117 Franklin St., 3:13 a.m. two cars destroyed by fire. Next day a woman notices attempted fire in a third car. Two other attempted fires discovered the next morning, one on Henry St., one at 42 Fruit St. 15 locations in all.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:18 
10:17 a.m. Now I will tell you how Anthony Baye came to be charged in this case.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:19 
10:18 a.m. The most powerful evidence you will hear will come from his own lips. In a lie and a lie and a lie and a lie and then one moment of truth.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:19 
10:19 a.m. Northampton police officer Corey Robinson encounters Baye on Bancroft St. Baye's car window is down. Baye is soaking wet. Robinson asks what he's doing. Baye says he was leaving his girlfriend's house. Robinson asks Baye to give his girlfriend a call. Baye says no answer. Go know on her door. Baye goes to house, comes back, says she's not home.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:21 
10:21 a.m. Next day Robinson follows up, goes back to 911 Bancroft looking for Baye's girlfriend. She's not there. The girlfriend lives on Market Street. The girlfriend calls Robinson. Baye calls Robinson, comes down to police station. Now he says he was at a party at the World War II Club, went to a friend's house afterwards and stayed there till after 3.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:24 
10:23 a.m. Police bring in Boucher, Baye's friend. He says he was with Baye till 3:15 a.m. at his house. But another witness tells police he was with Baye at a party at the Oxbow. Until about 1:20 a.m. Police call Baye in to square his story. Baye sticks to his original story at first, then changes his tale slightly. The police check Baye's license plate and learn his car was seen at 2:43 a.m. near the fires. Three police in all ran his plate that night.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:27 
10:26 a.m. A trooper say he stopped Baye at Arlington Place. Baye is wet. Baye says he visiting a friend and has gone to see his girlfriend on Arlington Place. Within these lies you will see more lies, Vottero says. Baye asked back to police station on Jan. 4.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:29 
10:29 a.m. On Jan. 4, Zachary Buscher tells police he and Baye did some drinking that night but go on to the Toasted Owl without Baye. Buscher discovered a text message sent by Baye one minute after Baye's encounter with Robinson saying, "I just left your house. You might have to tell cops." Baye later goes to Buscjer's house and says, "I need an alibi."
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:33 
10:32 a.m. Baye tried to get Buscher to lie, Vottero says. "In the end, thete is one brief moment of truth." At his booking, Baye's parents see him for a moment. Mrs. Baye says, "Don't you have anyhting to say to us?" Baye says "I'm sorry." Dad says "Were you at the Yeskies'?" Baye says he has no recollection. Mom says, "What do you want us to do?" Baye says, "There's nothing you can do."
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:36 
10:35 a.m. Vottero ends his opening. David P. Hoose stands to give his.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:36 
10:36 a.m. Baye, a person I suggest to you sits here wrongfully accused of the most serious thing any of us can be accused of in this life. How can he be wrongfully accused? The evidence will show you. In the words of Sir Walter Scott: Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:38 
10:38 a.m. No question Tony set out to deceive the police about where he was. He repeated his lies. They formed the web. Nothing else puts him here today. He told a lie-- he didn't set a fire. It was a frightening night for a lot of people. Two lives were lost. Some of the evidence will be disturbing. You're going to have to look at photos. You'll hear 911 calls. It will affect you emotionally. You must put your emotions aside and fpocus on the real issue: Did Tony Baye do these things?
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:42 
10:41 a.m. Commonwealth must prove Baye did this, and not some other person or persons. They don't have any evidence. No one saw him setting fires. No DNA. No fingerprints. They searched his home, his car, his computer. All of it led to absolutely nothing.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:44 
10:43 a.m. His friends call him Tony. Let me tell you about him. He's the consumate local guy. Born and raised in Hamp to a family that was born and raised in Hamp. JFK Middle School. Northampton High School. Parents remodeled their home when Tony graduated so he could live at home with privacy. He started college but left and went to work. He worked in restaurants. Graduated high school in 2003. On Dec. 27, 2009, he about 25, enrolled in Holyoke Community College in business course. Met a girl. Things are going great.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:48 
10:47 a.m. He's working now at Sierra Grill as a cook. In short this is a local kid who's doing great.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:49 
10:48 a.m. You'll hear a lot about this party at the World War II Club. Held right after Christmas. Opportunity for Hamp high school grads to get together. Baye went there, drank, probably had too much to drink. Friends went for last call at Toasted Owl. Baye leaves World War II Club, meets Danny Dunphy, who asks for a ride. They go to party, find bunch of young kids, leave. Baye leaves Dunphy at 7-11 near Hotel Northampton.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:54 
10:53 a.m. Baye has phone call with another friend, says he is going home. If only he had gone home. What he did is he drove around. He drove around town late at night. On any other night, the worst thing is he would have got stopped and charged with OUI. But as you know, some person or group pf persons went on a spree of destructive behavior at that time. Police stopping vehicles. That's where the problems begin for Tony Baye. He's worried about getting arrested for drunk driving.
Thursday May 9, 2013 10:58 
10:57 a.m. He lies to police. Amazingly, it works. He starts to take the back streets home, is stopped again. He knows he's intoxicated, lies again. Baye goes home. When the sun rose on the morning of Dec. 27 and the smoke had cleared, police had nothing. 15 fires, 2 deaths and nothing.
Thursday May 9, 2013 11:02 
11:01 a.m. You have to understand the pressure law enforcement was under to make an arrest. The collected surveillance videos, started reviewing all the plates they ran, put out a request for tips. In the end they still had nothing. They call Baye in, question him. He repeated the lie. For that he is guilty, guilty, guilty. On Jan. 4, with no better suspect, under pressure to make arrest, the kid who got caught in a lie was arrested and charged with these fires.
Thursday May 9, 2013 11:06 
11:05 a.m. What they have proved is he told a lie. He didn't set a fire.
Hoose done with opening.
Thursday May 9, 2013 11:07 
11:07 a.m. Sweeney calls morning break. Will give jury lunch after. Court officers sworn in to steward jury.
Thursday May 9, 2013 11:09 
11:09 a.m. Sweeney takes up a motion to sequester witnesses. Allows it. The judge will address other issues about a cell tower and polygraph later. I don't know the details of these motions.
Thursday May 9, 2013 11:12 
11:12 a.m. Break.
Thursday May 9, 2013 11:13 
11:14 a.m. We are heading to Northampton for the view.
Thursday May 9, 2013 11:15 
12:28 p.m. I am in my car on Fair Street. We will cover the jury view as best we can, given that we don't know the route they are taking. I am on battery power and will have to shut down now and then to preserve power.
Thursday May 9, 2013 12:30 
12:29 p.m. We are outside 17 Fair Street, the former home of Paul Yeskie senior and junior, Elaine Yeskie and Carol Lapointe. Elaine and Lapoint lived in the upstairs portion of the house and were able to escape the fire by an exterior stairs. Paul senior, 81 and Paul junion, 39, were trapped downstairs. They apparently tried to get out through a bathroom window. That's where firefighters found their bodies. The died of smoke inhalation. At an evidentiary hearing, Brett Vottero played the 911 call of Paul junior frantically calling for help, saying that he and his father were trapped in a fire. Elaine Yeskie, who was at that hearing, cried throughout the tape.
Thursday May 9, 2013 12:33 
12:33 p.m. As per the rules of jury views, reporters cannot ride with them or approach them. We can just watch from a distance. 17 Fair Street was totaled in the fire. A new house has been rebuilt on the lot. It doesn't look much like the old one. I don't know if Elaine Yeskie lives there. The other houses that were set on fire have been restored. The cars, obviously, are no longer where they were on the night of the fire, if they exist at all, so there's not a lot to see.
Thursday May 9, 2013 12:36 
12:35 p.m. All the houses and cars that were burned on Dec. 27, 2009, are within a radius of less than two miles. It was a rainy December night. Many people in town still had relatives visiting from Christmas. Today, but contrast, is a lovely spring day. Fair Street is next to the Three County Fairground. One of the houses next door has a silo. On the other side of Interstate 91 there are extensive farms in the low-lying part of Northampton called the Meadows. It's quiet here (except for the highway noise). Lots of birds and flowers.
Thursday May 9, 2013 12:39 
12:39 p.m. I will shut down now until there is some news about where the jury is.
Thursday May 9, 2013 12:40 
1:15 p.m. We are on North Street. The jury is outside the bus looking at a site on Northern Ave. They have already checked out sites on Union and Highland streets. They are getting back inside the bus so I will follow.
Thursday May 9, 2013 1:17 
1:21 p.m. We're at 17 Fair Street. The jurors are getting off the bus. It may be that the two sides had some input about the route to show how easy or difficult it would be to set all these houses and cars on fire within a certain period of time. The judge and the lawyers are with the jurors. Right now they are just standing there outside the house.
Thursday May 9, 2013 1:23 
1:23 p.m. The bus has turned around, indicating we're about to head back the other way.
Thursday May 9, 2013 1:25 
1:27 p.m. On Pomeroy Terrace, the site of several car fires. They're all standing around under a big oak tree. Vottero is talking and pointing something out.
Thursday May 9, 2013 1:31 
1:36 p.m. On Williams Street, a couple of blocks from the Pomeroy Terrace site. The jury is walking right past my car and giving me curious looks.
Thursday May 9, 2013 1:38 
1:38 p.m. In my rear view mirror I can see them standing outside a house. Some are taking notes. Here they come the other way.
Thursday May 9, 2013 1:40 
1:46 p.m. On Henry Street. Jurors standing outside the bus. A quick one. They're going back inside.
Thursday May 9, 2013 1:48 
1:51 p.m. We are on Hawley Street outside the house where Baye lived with his... The bus stopped there but no one got out. It was the 85 Hawley St. house where Baye lived weith his parents. We are nowon Crescent Street, scene of several fires.
Thursday May 9, 2013 2:07 
2:07 p.m. Vottero is pointing something out, explaining something. Now they are walking farther up the street.
Thursday May 9, 2013 2:09 
2:08 p.m. The defendant is not along for the ride but his lawyers are. The jury has turned the corner and is out of sight.
Thursday May 9, 2013 2:10 
2:21 p.m. They have stopped at Arlington Place, one of the locations where Baye was questioned by police. This is where he said his girlfriend lived.
Thursday May 9, 2013 2:23 
[Comment From Lee Lee : ] 
Wow, this is very interesting. You are doing a excellent job!! I feel like I am right there. Keep up the good work.
Thursday May 9, 2013 2:23 Lee
2:26 p.m. Judge Sweeney is huddling with the lawyers and court officers on the corner. The jurors are all back on the bus.
Thursday May 9, 2013 2:28 
A scene from the jury's viewing tour today, by staff photographer Michael S. Gordon.
Thursday May 9, 2013 3:46 
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