by Mickey Smith
Accused murderer Dennis Tribble confers with Kelly Green, of the Defender General office, in the main courtroom after a hearing last week in Hyde Park. Green filed the paper work to bring Tribble back to Vermont, but has not been assigned to his case. Smith photo
HYDE PARK – He’s been convicted twice, but each of those convictions have been overturned so accused murderer Dennis Tribble is again facing trial for the death of his neighbor, Michael Borello, on Jones Lane in Wolcott.
Tribble has admitted to shooting Borello on Borello’s 43rd birthday in September of 2000, but since then has repeatedly fired his court appointed attorneys causing issues with keeping the case moving forward. The most recent conviction was overturned because the former State Medical Examiner testified by video as he was living in New Zealand at the time. While Tribble’s attorney at that date agreed to this, Tribble successfully argued he did not agree to give up his right to cross examine the witness face-to-face.
Tribble, acting as his own attorney for the time being, and prosecution team of Lamoille County State’s Attorney Joel Page and Deputy State’s Attorney Christopher Moll met with Judge Brian Grearson for a status conference, Wednesday, January 15, and to plan how to move forward.
Tribble brought up concerns with Judge Grearson hearing the re-trial. Tribble felt Grearson spoke his opinion at Tribble’s sentencing and did not feel Grearson could be perceived as impartial following that. Judge Grearson said he had no formal role in the case, other than he was filling in, in Lamoille County on that day. He said Tribble could submit a motion in writing asking Grearson to recuse himself from the trial.
Also brought up during the hearing was the question of at what point, precisely, to begin a new trial. Page felt the case should be picked up from just before the start of the trial, but Tribble felt he needs to be arraigned again and wanted a current affidavit.
Judge Grearson agreed Tribble has the right to know the charge he was facing, whether it is based on the original information or amended information. The Vermont Supreme Court has not returned the original file yet, so the arraignment discussion was postponed until those documents could be produced.
A third question that was brought up involved whether Tribble would continue “pro se” (acting on his own behalf) or would obtain counsel. Kelly Green, of the Vermont Defender General office, sat in the corner near the defense side. She occasionally spoke with Tribble, but told the court she had not been assigned to the case. Green works in the prisoners’ rights division of the Defender General’s office and had filed the motion to have Tribble returned from the out-of-state prison where he had been lodged since his 2009 conviction. Tribble said he was planning to speak with some attorneys in the next few days before he made a decision regarding his counsel.
The question of bail was also postponed until after the arraignment. In the meantime he is being held at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport. Also on hold is a discussion regarding the possibility of a change of venue. Tribble had concerns with how the jury selection was held, but Judge Pearson said he did not want to re-litigate what has already happened.