COURT: Webster murder trial unlikely until autumn

Suspect’s mental health will play role in defense

Michelle Monroe

By Michelle Monroe

Staff Writer

Just
The Facts

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ST. ALBANS — Judge Martin Maley issued two discovery orders in the case against Matthew Webster this morning. Webster, 30, is accused of shooting Anna Alger, 31 of Highgate on North Main Street in what police have characterized as a road rage murder.

Maley ordered the state to provide a forensics plan to the defense outlining any ballistics or blood tests. The plan is to be conveyed to the defense within 30 days. Webster’s phone is currently in the possession of police investigators, and the state was ordered to determine if prosecutors would provide the phone directly to defense attorneys or third party experts.

Defense attorney Steve Dunham agreed to file all motions to suppress evidence by May 6.

The state also arranged to provide recordings of Webster’s arrest made by the St. Albans Police Dept. (SAPD). That evidence will be turned over tomorrow. Deputy state’s attorney John Lavoie said the tapes had not yet been provided because of confusion over what recordings Dunham was requesting.

Lavoie also asked about possible defense strategies. “We anticipated from day one there would some sort of mental ailment defense,” said Lavoie. The state has not yet received notice of possible expert witnesses to testify to Webster’s mental health.

Dunham said that once he has all of the basic evidence he will be able to spend a couple of days planning the defense. He anticipates providing the prosecution with the name of at least one expert witness on mental health by June.

Dunham said he is also awaiting medical records.

Several depositions still remain to be conducted in the case, including two police officers and 10 other witnesses.

Lavoie requested that the court consider assigning a single judge to follow this case through to the end. Typically judges rotate assignments in September. “I’d like to see your honor stick with it so we can have some consistency,” Lavoie said.

With Dunham filing his motions to suppress next month, Maley as the presiding judge will be making legal decisions that will shape the case, Lavoie pointed out.

Maley said he will raise the issue of his assignment with the administrative judge.

The original goal was a summer trial. Dunham said he does not believe the case will be ready for trial until September or October.

Webster was charged with second-degree murder after the Sept. 25 shooting, to which he pled not guilty.

According to a police affidavit, Webster confessed to shooting Alger.  At Webster’s September arraignment, Lavoie described how Webster shot Alger six times following the confrontation between the two after Webster ran a red light, nearly hitting Alger’s car.

Webster is being held without bail.

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