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Oct 14, 2009 1:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Jury being seated, Oddone trial to commence

Oct 14, 2009 1:36 PM

After more than five days of poring over a jury pool to find 12 jurors and four alternates, attorneys in the murder case of Anthony Oddone are expected to begin opening arguments tomorrow morning in the Suffolk County Court in Riverhead.

The first witnesses in the case are expected to be called as early as Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.

Jury selection started on Monday, October 5, and continued throughout the week. The 12 people selected to be the primary jurors were not seated until Tuesday afternoon, leaving four alternate jurors—who will also listen to the entire case and would fill in if jurors have to be dismissed—to be selected on Wednesday morning, October 14.

The trial is expected to last as long as a month.

On Monday, Mr. Oddone was transferred from the New York City jail on Rikers Island, where he has been held for the last 14 months, to the Nassau County Jail in East Meadow to make the daily trip to the Arthur M. Cromarty Court Complex in Riverhead easier on law enforcement officials, according to a spokesman for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department.

Because Andrew Reister, the man Mr. Oddone is accused of strangling to death during a fight in a Southampton bar on August 7, 2008, was a Suffolk County Department of Corrections officer who worked at the county jail in Riverhead, next door to the courtroom where the trial will be held, Judge C. Randall Hinrichs ordered him held in a different facility for his own protection and to avoid a conflict of interest.

Mr. Oddone’s defense attorney, Sarita Kedia, said on Tuesday that she had not been notified that her client was being transferred.

On Tuesday, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Chief of Staff Michael Sharkey said that the decision to have Mr. Oddone moved to Nassau County was a logistical one, because once the trial started, Mr. Oddone would have to be brought to court on a daily basis.

“It’s a little bit of a problem getting in and out of Rikers Island,” Mr. Sharkey said.

Suffolk County deputy sheriffs are responsible for transporting Mr. Oddone to and from court each day.

In court last month, Ms. Kedia said that visiting her client on Rikers Island was a long and arduous process—taking as many as two hours from the time she arrived at the prison complex near the Bronx to when she actually got to sit down with Mr. Oddone. During the trial, she said, such a trek would prevent her from being able to properly interact with her client after each day’s proceedings. Judge Hinrichs ordered that court officers be kept in the courtroom at the end of each day to allow Ms. Kedia and Mr. Oddone to meet at the defense table as needed.

Mr. Oddone is accused of strangling Mr. Reister, who was moonlighting as an ID checker at the Southampton Publick House. According to accounts of the incident, Mr. Oddone was dancing on a table in the tavern’s barroom when Mr. Reister demanded that he get down. A scuffle ensued and Mr. Oddone got Mr. Reister in a “chokehold.” The father of two was declared brain dead two days later.

Mr. Oddone is charged with two counts of murder in the second degree, though Assistant District Attorney Denise Merrifield will have to decide whether the prosecution will seek to prove that Mr. Oddone intentionally killed Mr. Reister or that he simply showed a “depraved indifference” toward Mr. Reister’s life when he placed him in the chokehold. Conviction on either charge carries a potential sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

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Hopefully justice will prevail for that family. They and He did not deserve this - what a wonderful family. God Bless.
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Oct 15, 09 7:13 AM
INS, they cleared that confusion in earlier articles. Andrew Reister was not a bouncer. He intervened when Mr. Oddone got up on the table because the bouncers couldn't get through the crowd to get to him. Why do you have such a bug in your butt about this case?
By LocalMom (36), Southampton on Oct 15, 09 2:41 PM
I see what you mean...I didn't catch that in today's article. And I'm not up your butt, I just noticed that you have quite a bit to say about this case, all of which I find very interesting...
By LocalMom (36), Southampton on Oct 15, 09 3:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
Not at all, and please understand that I meant you no offense as well. Like I said, I just noticed that you have quite a bit to say about this case,a ll of which I find interesting, even if I don't agree with it. :)
By LocalMom (36), Southampton on Oct 16, 09 7:49 AM