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Bracke’s lawyer seeks separate trials

by Tom Chillemi

Judge William T. Shaw III is considering a defense motion to allow Arthur R. Bracke to have two separate trials on 10 sex-related charges. Bracke is charged with molesting two boys last year on different occasions, according to prosecutor Mike Hurd’s arguments in court on May 21.

Hurd argued before Judge Shaw in Middlesex Circuit Court that both cases are connected by a “common scheme or plan.” He also said one of the boys will be testifying at the trial on the charges that involve the other boy.

Bracke’s court-appointed defense attorney, Joseph Caprio of West Point, argued that the charges state the allegations involve “separate incidences” with “separate people” and allegedly occurred two months apart. “It is totally unfair for the Commonwealth to try both offenses at once,” said Caprio, and would be a “grave injustice.”

Judge Shaw said he would decide later if the charges from the two boys will be separated into two trials and, if so, another trial date would be set.

Regardless of Judge Shaw’s decision, a jury trial date has been set for August 5-7.

Bracke, 61, is facing eight felony sexual charges and two felony attempted sexual battery charges relating to children under the age of 13. He remains incarcerated in the Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center in Saluda.

Caprio told Judge Shaw he expects jury selection to take a half day. While he has not asked to move the trial, Caprio noted this could be an option if a jury could not be selected from the pool. He said a jury pool of 50 people is not large enough.

Bracke is a former child protective social worker with the Middlesex Department of Social Services. He retired in July 2007.

The alleged molestations occurred between August 31 and September 6, 2007 against one of the boys; and on November 3 or 4, 2007 against the other boy, according to Hurd.

In an unrelated case, Bracke also is charged with attempted first-degree murder and arson of a dwelling. Allegedly, Bracke set fire to his house in Wake where his 19-year-old adopted son was sleeping on November 17, 2007. The trial date on these charges is June 18 at 9:30 a.m. in Middlesex Circuit Court before a judge and without a jury.

posted 05.29.2008

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