Re-Trial of Springfield Man Originally Convicted Of Murder Gets Underway
A Springfield man whose lawyers and supporters claim was wrongfully convicted of murder in his first trial, was back in court today (Monday) as his re-trial got underway. A jury has been selected to hear the case of Charles Wilhite. 16 jurors out of a pool of more than 120 potential jurors were chosen by noontime Monday, comprising of nine men and seven women that includes one person of color. During her instructions, Hampden Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney told jurors not to discuss the case with anyone, and to refrain from gathering research on the case by themselves. The jury was then excused until 9 o'clock Tuesday morning when they are scheduled to tour the scene of the shooting that claimed the life of Alberto Rodriguez in October 2008. Charles Wilhite and a co-defendant, Angel Hernandez, were found guilty in 2010 in the killing. But Wilhite was granted a new trial last May by retiring Judge Peter Velis after two prosecution witnesses recanted their testimony. They claimed they had been coerced by police into identifying Wilhite as the shooter. Judge Sweeney also briefly spoke with about a dozen witnesses Monday who have been summoned by prosecutors and defense attorneys for the new trial. She says she expects the retrial to take about 5 days before jury deliberations get underway.