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Judge can’t aid murder suspect’s defense team on reporter’s notes

By GAYLA CAWLEY 

SALEM — A motion by the defense team in the trial of Jason J. Fleury to obtain the notes of former Item reporter Cyrus Moulton, who interviewed the defendant in November 2014, was acted upon at Salem Superior Court Tuesday.

Fleury faces first-degree murder charges in the death of Jaimee Mendez of Swampscott, whose body was found in January 2015 off King’s Beach. She had been reported missing Nov. 6, 2014.

Discussion at Tuesday’s status hearing centered around the defense’s request to obtain Moulton’s notes, said Essex District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan.

“The issue now is that Cyrus lives out of state and the notes are with him and not the newspaper,” Kimball-Monahan said.

Judge Timothy Feeley is unable to issue an order compelling those documents be turned over because Moulton lives out of state, Kimball-Monahan said. She said it is now up to the defense, with Fleury represented by Attorney Michael Phelan, to determine how to proceed.

Kimball-Monahan said the defense could choose to go to New Hampshire, where Moulton resides, and seek a court order there.

The motion to obtain the Item’s notes is one of three discovery motions the defense has filed. The defense also previously requested the preservation of any tissue from Mendez and other evidence gathered by the medical examiner, which was acted upon.

The third motion pertained to a friend of Mendez, Crystal Brown, of Lynn. The defense had requested copies of conversations recorded or otherwise that Brown had with another witness and the defendant and any photographs that she took of the beach area or related to the case. Kimball-Monahan said Brown’s evidence was already turned over.

Fleury was in court Tuesday for his hearing, but his presence has been waived for his next court date on March 3, Kimball-Monahan said.

For that court date, Phelan will be filing motions to suppress, Kimball-Monahan said.

After Fleury’s Oct. 19 status hearing, Brown called him a “monster” and said that contrary to his claims in an article published in the Item last November, that the victim was a drug addict and a go-between for drug deals, her friend was an upbeat person who took care of herself.

Fleury is being held without bail at the Middleton House of Correction.

Mendez’ remains were found tangled up in lobster traps on King’s Beach in Swampscott on Jan. 28, 2015. She was last seen on Nov. 6, 2014.

Fleury pleaded innocent in court on Aug. 6.

In an exclusive interview with the Item’s Moulton on Nov. 13, 2014, Fleury said he was with Mendez on the night of her disappearance, but denied that he killed her. He told the Item that Mendez was a go-between for drug deals.

Fleury was arrested on Aug. 4, in Hampton, Va., by Massachusetts and Virginia State Police and Swampscott and Hampton, Va., police.

Fleury has a criminal record that includes 22 cases in Lynn since 2002, according to Lynn District Court records. He was designated a Level 3 sex offender in 2007. In the Item interview, he designated himself as a heroin addict, but said he was not violent.


 

Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]

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