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No new trial for convicted murderer of Madbury teen

Union Leader Correspondent

September 20. 2017 11:06PM
Tristan Wolusky (Kimberley Haas/Union Leader Correspondent file photo)

DOVER — Convicted murderer Tristan Wolusky will not be granted a new trial after a judge at Strafford County Superior Court on Tuesday denied his lawyer’s motion to set aside the verdict.

Wolusky, of Rochester, was convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of Madbury teen Aaron Wilkinson in 2015 after a jury found that he and two co-conspirators, Michael Tatum and Zachary Pinette, used knives and a machete to stab Wilkinson to death outside Paul Carroll’s home on June 21, 2014.

The trio believed the 18-year-old Wilkinson, who was living with his father, was a drug dealer, and they wanted to rob him.

Wolusky was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in December 2015. In March of last year, his defense attorneys, Mark Sisti and Wade Harwood, asked Judge Steven Houran to order a new trial. After multiple hearings, Houran denied that request Tuesday in a 26-page order.

At the heart of Sisti and Harwood’s argument was the idea that Tatum and Pinette lied on the witness stand, that they had discovered new evidence of the perjured statements, and that Wolusky’s constitutional rights had been violated because exculpatory materials, meaning information that might point to his innoence, were not disclosed.

Under the law, to secure a new trial based on undisclosed exculpatory material, the defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the evidence would be favorable to the state and that prosecutors knowingly withheld it, Houran wrote.

Wolusky’s attorneys had argued the state failed to disclose that, during witness preparation, Pinette told prosecutors he did not see Wolusky stab Wilkinson and that an alleged condition of Tatum and Pinette’s plea agreements involved withholding discovery from them so they would testify in a more favorable light for the state at Wolusky’s trial.

In his order, Houran said the idea that lawyers withheld information from Pinette and Tatum “is based entirely upon speculation.”

“Thus, because there is no actual evidence of an agreement to withhold discovery, Wolusky has failed to establish that the state withheld the existence of this alleged agreement,” Houran wrote.

Tatum and Pinette each pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and were sentenced to 30 years in prison for their crimes before Wolusky’s trial began in fall 2015.

Courts Crime General News Rochester Madbury

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