Courts & Corrections

Fell’s death penalty trial postponed again

Donald Fell
Donald Fell
RUTLAND — The death penalty retrial for alleged killer Donald Fell has been delayed again.

Prosecutors recently filed a notice to appeal a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Geoffrey Crawford to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City. As a result, the trial that had been set for September is being pushed back again, according to court records.

No new trial date has been set, pending the outcome of the appeal.

The trial had been set to start in late February but was delayed until September when Fell’s attorneys said they needed more time to prepare his defense.

Fell, 36, is awaiting a death penalty retrial on charges that he abducted and killed Teresca King, 53, of North Clarendon, as she showed up in the early morning to work at a downtown Rutland supermarket more than 16 years ago.

Fell’s first trial ended with his conviction and a death sentence that years later was overturned after revelations of juror misconduct.

The latest appeal by prosecutors centers on the admissibility of statements by Robert Lee, an alleged accomplice in King’s killing. Lee has since died in prison.

The two men, according to court records, were allegedly fleeing the slayings of Fell’s mother and her friend when they carjacked King in the downtown supermarket’s parking lot.

Vermont doesn’t have the death penalty. However, because King was beaten and killed in New York state after her abduction in Rutland, federal prosecutors took jurisdiction and are seeking the death penalty for Fell, court records state.

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Alan J. Keays

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  • Tim Vincent

    Don’t wonder why lawyers are generally loathed and despised.
    This murderer is flat out guilty – no doubts or questions.
    He got his trial.
    His victim never got her day in any court.
    Yet the lawyers continue to spend taxpayer money to keep him from the death penalty, because….well, they don’t like the death penalty or something.

    • Margo Howland

      No, it’s because there was JUROR MISCONDUCT. Defendant was entitled to a fair trial. There was juror misconduct and since such misconduct tainted the outcome of the trial, it has to be done over.

      • Tim Vincent

        Entitled to a FAIR trial, not a PERFECT trial.
        The trial judge (Sessions) admitted he’s against the death penalty and used this as an excuse to throw out the verdict.

        • Margo Howland

          Actually, Judge Session’s ruling that the death penalty was unconstitutional was overturned by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. There is no such thing as a “perfect” trial, but Fell was entitled to a fair trial, and, as I stated before, the jury misconduct tainted the results.

  • Margo Howland

    We can’t be sure that it was “of no consequence”, Rich; the jurors are supposed to consider only the evidence put in front of them, and not go off on their own investigations, which this juror apparently did.