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Casey Chadwick's accused murderer will get a new trial. Jury selection begins Monday. – Norwich Bulletin

NEW LONDON — A New London Superior Court judge on Thursday heard several motions on the eve of jury selection for the retrial of Jean Jacques, whose conviction for the murder of a Norwich woman was overturned by the state Supreme Court.
Jury selection in the new trial will begin on Monday and evidence presentation is tentatively scheduled to begin on May 10.
Jacques, 47, is accused of viciously killing 25-year-old Casey Chadwick inside her Spaulding Street residence in mid-2015. He was convicted of the crime a year later and sentenced to 60 years in prison, but the state’s highest court overturned his conviction.
On Thursday, Jacques’ public defender, Sebastian DeSantis, raised several oral motions, including one requesting a new probable cause hearing for his client. During such hearings, a sort of mini-trial, a prosecutor presents various pieces of evidence and a judge decides if enough probable cause has been established to show a crime has been committed.
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DeSantis argued the Supreme Court’s decision to order a new trial means his client is entitled to a new probable cause hearing, even though Jacques already had one such hearing in 2016. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Christa Baker, who is prosecuting the case with Assistant State’s Attorney Marissa Goldberg, opposed the idea.
“While the trial is starting from scratch, the case is not,” she said, before Judge Shari Murphy denied DeSantis’ motion.
Murphy also denied DeSantis’ motion to allow Jacques to be provided with unredacted copies of all discovery documents in his jail cell, including a copy of letter written by a “jailhouse informant” who is expected to testify for the state.
Jacques, wearing a bright orange jumpsuit and face mask, spent much of the afternoon shuffling through reams of paperwork next to his Haitian-Creole interpreter. As part of the proceedings, he again formally pleaded not guilty to the murder charge he faces.
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Chadwick’s body, with its multiple neck and face stab wounds, was found stuffed in the closet of her Spaulding Street home on June 15, 2015. Norwich police immediately suspected Jacques had murdered Chadwick as part of an alleged drug dispute with the victim’s boyfriend.
While Jacques, a Haitian citizen who immigrated illegally to the United States, was in prison awaiting trial for Chadwick’s death, his cellmate notified authorities that Jacques had told him about a hole in his apartment’s bathroom wall where Chadwick’s cell phone and drugs were cached.
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During a search of Jacques’ apartment at 5 Crossway St., No. 3, on July 15, 2015 – made with the permission of the defendant’s landlord and not via a warrant – the cell phone in question was found. Police left the residence and later obtained a search and seizure warrant for the items.
After a nine-day trial, a jury in July 2016 found Jacques guilty of Chadwick’s murder and he was sentenced to 60 years in prison. But the state Supreme Court in July 2019 ruled that Norwich police violated Jacques’ privacy when they conducted the second search.
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In their appeal supporting the lawfulness of the police search, prosecutors argued that Jacques’ lease had expired five days earlier; he made no attempt to have family members or friends extend his lease or collect his possessions; and the landlord had bagged up and removed his belongings and was preparing the apartment to rent to someone else.
Federal immigration officials were roundly criticized for failing to deport Jacques after he served 17 years on a 1996 attempted murder conviction.
John Penney can be reached at jpenney@norwichbulletin.com or at (860) 857-6965.

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