STAGE SET FOR BAILEY TRIAL

Jury to begin hearing evidence today in case of student's slaying

ROBERT GAVIN STAFF WRITER
Section: Capital Region,  Page: B1

Date: Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ALBANY -- A jury will begin hearing evidence Tuesday in the trial of the man charged with killing University at Albany student Richard Bailey in 2008 -- including allegations that he robbed or tried to rob two other people that night.


The panel of two men and 10 women was finalized early Monday afternoon before acting Supreme Court Justice Dan Lamont, setting the stage for opening arguments Tuesday at the high-profile trial in Albany County Court.


Callicutt, 20, of Rensselaer, is accused of firing the shot that killed Bailey, of Long Island, during a botched robbery at South Lake Avenue and Yates Street at 11:20 p.m. on Oct. 20, 2008. The 22-year-old Bailey had been returning from a friend's home, where he watched ''Monday Night Football,'' when he was allegedly targeted by Callicutt and two lookouts, King "Cokilla" Modest and Ricardo "Rico" Caldwell.


Prosecutors contend Callicutt robbed a second man seven minutes later at State and Ontario streets. They allege Callicutt also was involved in another robbery on Colonie Street less than two hours before the Bailey killing.


The judge allowed Chief Assistant District Attorney David Rossi to ask about the allegations at an evidence hearing late Monday, despite arguments from Callicutt's attorney, Cheryl Coleman.


The judge also allowed prosecutors to have wording in the indictment against Callicutt changed to classify the incident as an "attempted robbery" of Bailey as opposed to a "robbery." Lamont reserved ruling on another request by prosecutors to have additional wording in the indictment changed to state that Callicutt caused the man's death with others, as opposed to him being named specifically as the shooter.


Coleman objected, arguing that prosecutors wrote the indictment more than a year ago. If allowed, she contended, it would ease the burden of proof for prosecutors because they would not have to prove Callicutt was the actual shooter.


Lamont will allow prosecutors to quiz a key witness at trial about his alleged conversation with Callicutt after the shooting. The witness contends Callicutt told him, according to the judge, "I just robbed someone and when I hit him with the gun, it went off."


Coleman has successfully argued to get a potentially incriminating jailhouse interview between her client and Albany police blocked from the trial. The Sept. 11, 2009, statement Callicutt gave detectives in state prison was suppressed after Coleman argued her client was interviewed without a lawyer present.


On Monday, Coleman argued that references to the interview in letters should also be blocked. That would have included a line in letters he sent from prison, including one in which her client allegedly wrote, "These Devils knew from how I got the gun to how that night started and why the kid died. So I said '(expletive) it, Yah got me.'"


Lamont rejected her request. Coleman denies her client even wrote the letters.


Coleman told reporters earlier Monday that she believes her request for a change of venue will be rendered moot by a state appeals court. Coleman had argued that pretrial publicity would deny Callicutt his right to an impartial jury.


She also told reporters the prosecution wrongly excluded five of seven potential black jurors, showing a pattern. Coleman said it could derail the case on legal grounds. "It happens a lot ... and I have every reason to believe it happened in this case," she said.


While two jurors on the jury are African-American, she said that would not be a factor.


Rossi said he did not try to keep blacks off the jury, noting two of the first eight jurors chosen were black.


Reach Robert Gavin at 434-2403 or at rgavin@timesunion.com.





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Coleman told reporters earlier Monday that she believes her request for a change of venue will be rendered moot by a state appeals court. Coleman had argued that pretrial publicity would deny Callicutt his right to an impartial jury.