Thomas Mortimer's Defense Attorney Looking to Impound Four Lines of the Statement of the Case
Defense is concerned if those lines are revealed, Thomas Mortimer, IV, safety could be in danger in prison.
A week ago Denise Regan, lawyer of Thomas Mortimer, IV, had asked the court to impound the nine-page statement of the case. Thursday afternoon, Regan had simplified that request in a motions hearing, to only include four specific sentences of that statement.
Judge Julia Kern of Middlesex Superior Court ruled that she will take it under advisement.
Regan explained to the court that she was concerned that if those four sentences were released it could hinder Mortimer's chances of a free trial.
"The defendant's right to a fair trial trumps the first amendment in this case," Regan said. "The public doesn't need the information that's contained in those four lines to understand the proceedings of the court."
She also expressed concern regarding Mortimer's safety in the Billerica House of Corrections.
"The information is so inflammatory that it will put the defendant at risk (at Billerica)," Regan said.
As Regan explained the importance of keeping these specific sentences impounded from the public, Mortimer sat next to her, expressionless. Originally upon entrance into the courtroom, Mortimer had on a blue shirt, tie, khaki pants wit his short black hair, but no handcuffs around his wrists or shackles on his ankles. When Kern asked to speak to Assists District Attorney Adrienne Lynch and Regan, the court officers took Mortimer outside and when he was brought back, he had his shackles back on.
Regan believed that impounding four sentences is an appropriate action the court should take. She explained it's a better alternate then to decided whether or not to impound all nine pages.
While Lynch was not fully opposed to impounding those four lines, she would like the whole document open to the public.
"The statement of the case is fair and accurate," Lynch said. "We're willing to enter a revised statement, but not because of anything that's inaccurate, but for the welfare of a third party. Those lines will have no bearing on our ability to process the case."
The Boston Globe and Associate Press filed motions to release the statement of the case. Regan has until Tuesday afternoon to file a reply.
Judge Kern also raised the question as to whether Mortimer is indigent or not. When he was first brought to the probation officer to fill out an income form, Mortimer only listed his two bank accounts, which totaled approximately $2,000.
After filling out a longer form, Mortimer informed the officer of a joint account he had with his wife, Laura Stone Mortimer for $11,000. He also owns two cars, one of which is a Toyota Highlander and he has his children's college savings account worth $25,000.
Kern then requested to ask Mortimer a few more questions regarding his financial statements. Mortimer was put under oath and the judge asked him if he owned any real estate, owned any real estate with his wife or if Laura Stone Mortimer owned any real estate herself.
Each question Mortimer simply replied, "No."
The judge then asked Mortimer where he lived before moving in with his in-laws in Winchester. He replied, "An apartment in South Boston."
When asked how long he lived there, Mortimer said, "18 months." Mortimer then said," I have never owned any real estate."
Judge Kern then inquired about any more bank accounts. She informed Mortimer that he originally only had two bank accounts, but now the court just found out about two more.
Mortimer said, "Last week I was asked about my own personal accounts and that was the information I gave."
Judge Kern then ruled that Mortimer will be required to pay the court an amount of $40,000 because of his new found accounts.
There will be a pre-trial conference held on Sep. 27.
The father faces four charges of first-degree murder in connection with the quadruple homicide in his family's Winchester home. He is accused of murdering his wife, 41-year-old Laura Stone Mortimer, her two children, 2-year-old Charlotte Mortimer and 4-year-old Thomas Mortimer V, and Laura's mother, 64-year-old Ragna Ellen Stone.
Authorities allege that the defendant murdered four members of his family after an argument with his wife and ongoing marital discord. He allegedly murdered the four members of his family sometime between Monday, June 14 at 9 p.m. and the morning of Tuesday, June 15.
According to police, at 7:10 a.m. on June 15 he called his work and his son's preschool to inform them that they will not be making it in. When he spoke to his sister-in-law on the phone, who was looking for her sister, Mortimer said that she cannot come to the phone and indicated it would be a while before she would be able to.
Police also found two typed written letters that were made late that Monday night or early Tuesday morning explaining what he had done. He then fled his house and travelled west on Route 33 and at some point along that way he discarded both his and his wife's cell phones.
Mortimer was arrested June 17 after he was seen in Montague, MA at approximately 11:45 am by a father and son. The witnesses then copied the plate number of the vehicle Mortimer was driving and reported it to local police. Mortimer was apprehended in Bernardston after attempting to flee and was arrested by members of the Bernardston Police Department
Throughout the hearing, Mortimer occasionally whispered to his attorney, Denise Regan. And at one point, when speaking to her, smiled. The rest of the time Mortimer stood behind the cut-off glass barrier located at the side of the courtroom, expressionless. He was handcuffed, wearing a long-sleeve blue shirt with a burgundy tie and short black hair.