Hearing in Heidi Allen case scheduled to resume Tuesday
The Oswego County hearing in the case of Heidi Allen resumes tomorrow after a six-week break. Gary Thibodeau is seeking a new trial. He was convicted of kidnapping Allen more than 20 years ago. Allen was 18 when she disappeared while working at a convenience store in New Haven. WRVO news director Catherine Loper spoke with Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien who has been covering this hearing from the beginning.
Catherine Loper: Can you bring us up to date on what happened when the hearing ended?
John O’Brien: The defense had finished presenting 27 witnesses in hearing to determine whether Gary Thibodeau should get a new trial. And the prosecution is next.
Loper: The defense had their 27 witnesses, and their whole idea was to prove that Gary Thibodeau should get a retrial for what reasons?
O’Brien: Two grounds. One is newly discovered evidence that has come up in the past two years that points at three other men as the people who abducted Heidi Allen in 1994. And the second reason is a claim that prosecutors withheld evidence before the trial in 1995 from Gary Thibodeau’s lawyer that could have helped him win an acquittal.
Loper: So the prosecution gets to present their case next. And what do you expect to hear from them?
O’Brien: We don’t know for sure how many [witnesses] the DA, DA Greg Oakes, will call. We do know he will call Donald Dodd as a witness. And Donald Dodd was the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Thibodeau back in ’95. We know he’s going to testify because the prosecutors have told the judge already and Donald Dodd has told me, and he’s provided an affidavit to the court saying that he turned over every bit of evidence to the court that he was supposed to back before the trial.
Loper: Now people may find it odd that we’ve had this delay in the hearing. What was the reason for the delay?
O’Brien: We don’t know for sure what the reason was. But it likely was a result of the judge, Daniel King, is from another county. So he has a whole calendar in his other county, Lewis County, I think it is. So he has to work that in conjunction with this hearing in Oswego County. That is an unusual delay.
We'll have more of Catherine Loper’s conversation with O’Brien on Tuesday’s Morning Edition.