FALL RIVER -- A judge ruled Monday that a South Boston man who says he was wrongly convicted of murder 33 years ago, and who offered letters of support from James “Whitey” Bulger, is entitled to present evidence and call witnesses at a hearing to investigate his claim.
Superior Court Judge Raymond P. Veary Jr. said defense lawyers raised serious questions about whether a recently discovered police report should have been turned over by prosecutors during the trial of Fred Weichel, who was convicted decades ago of the 1980 slaying of 25-year-old Robert LaMonica in Braintree.
“I want this matter to move forward,” said Veary, ordering an in-depth evidentiary hearing into whether the Braintree police report that suggested someone else killed LaMonica was authentic and was improperly withheld from Weichel’s lawyers. A date has yet to be set.
“I see this as a full-throttle effort and a justifiable effort by the defendant to revisit his conviction,” Veary said during the conference with defense lawyers and prosecutors at Bristol Superior Court.
Weichel, 62, who remains incarcerated, did not attend the hearing. However, a group of Weichel’s supporters and several of LaMonica’s relatives, including his mother Marie, sat solemnly in the spectator section.
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