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Andrew Kissel

Andrew Kissel

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STAMFORD -- On the day jury selection was scheduled to begin for a co-defendant charged in the slaying of Greenwich real estate mogul Andrew Kissel, a judge postponed the proceedings after last-minute developments in a related case.

Carlos Trujillo's case was set for jury selection Wednesday, but Assistant State's Attorney Paul Ferencek told the court he needed more time in light of evolving talks of a plea deal with the co-defendant, Carlos' cousin Leonard Trujillo."There have been discussions with counsel about a possible resolution in that case," Ferencek said.Ferencek told Judge Richard Comerford in state Superior Court in Stamford that attorney Mark Sherman had approached him about possibly resolving the case just weeks before his client, Leonard Trujillo, 22, of Worcester, Mass., is set for trial on capital murder and first-degree murder charges.

Kissel was found dead in his backcountry mansion in Greenwich in April 2006, stabbed to death days before he was to plead guilty on federal fraud charges.

The Trujillos were arrested in March 2008.Sherman said he had no comment about the developments.But attorney Lindy Urso, who represents Carlos Trujillo, had plenty to say in court about the last-minute change, arguing that his client should not suffer because of the development.

Carlos Trujillo, 48, of Bridgeport, faces a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit murder.In a motion filed with the court Wednesday AdvertisementUrso alleged that "it is the defendant's perception that the court has already bent over backward to assist the State .



"Urso has argued that the state's case against Carlos Trujillo is weak without testimony from his cousin.

The prosecutor, Ferencek, has sought to try Leonard Trujillo first from the get-go, hoping for a conviction that might compel him to give crucial testimony against his cousin.Urso's claim that the court had been favorable to the prosecution did not sit well with Comerford, however, who made Urso rethink his phrasing.

Commenting on the claim that the court had "bent over backward," for the state, Comerford said "I appreciate poetic license, but don't you think that is a bit much.

"What the court tries to do is make sure the interest of justice has been met," said Comerford, leading Urso to concede that he did not chose his words wisely."It was a poor choice of terms, judge," Urso said.Ferencek said he believed the state should not be faulted for last-minute negotiations and has been up front about their strategy from the beginning."There has been no maneuvering," Ferencek said.

"I am doing what I need to do to prosecute these cases."Comerford ruled that Carlos Trujillo's trial would be pushed back until June 4.

Ferencek did not return a call for comment on the developments in Leonard Trujillo's case.Commenting on the hearing Wednesday, Urso said he was prepared for trial no matter what happens."We will be prepared to try this case with or without the cooperation of the co-defendant," Urso said."We are very confident this case will ultimately go to trial.

My client is looking forward to it."-- Staff Writer Debra Friedman can be reached at [email protected] or 625-4439.
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