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Sgt.berniedo @ 29 Nov 2004 20:55 said:
but I don't think they can get him on murder one due to the fact that premeditation will be hard to prove here. I don't think that even second degree murder will apply because of lack of specific intent.
Would the felony murder rule apply here? A&B on an elderly person is a felony, I believe. I am no lawyer, just pondering.

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Jeep @ 03 Dec 2004 11:25 said:
Has there been any word on his mother's status?
According to today's Salem News, she is off a respirator, but still unresponsive. Here is the article.

Hearing for Peabody cop charged in mother's beating delayed again
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

PEABODY - A Peabody police officer who admitted to beating his mother into a coma last week will remain in jail for at least three more weeks, after his lawyer for the second time asked to postpone a dangerousness hearing scheduled for yesterday.

George Sideris, 33, made a brief appearance in Peabody District Court yesterday, where witnesses, including his own priest, had been called to testify about what they know of the beating that has left 73-year-old Melpomeni Sideris hospitalized since Thanksgiving Day.

While she is no longer on a respirator to breathe, Melpomeni Sideris has made little meaningful recovery in the past week - she remains unresponsive when given stimulus tests, her second cousin Minas Dakos said yesterday.

Sideris had originally been scheduled to appear for a dangerousness hearing on Tuesday, but it was delayed at the request of his lawyer until yesterday. The hearing was requested by prosecutors who want to hold Sideris in jail without bail because they believe he poses a danger if released.

But yesterday, defense lawyer Edward O'Reilly told a judge he was not ready for a dangerousness hearing and asked for a further delay. Judge Santo Ruma agreed, but only on the condition that Sideris acknowledge that the delay cannot be considered a violation of his right to a speedy trial. Another hearing date was set for Dec. 23.

Meanwhile, also at the request of O'Reilly, Sideris will begin meeting with a privately hired psychiatrist who will evaluate him at the jail, something O'Reilly told a judge was important to determine the direction of the case.

Prosecutor Karen Hopwood objected to the request, saying that if Sideris is to undergo an evaluation it should be in the same way other defendants are treated. Typically, a defendant who undergoes a court-ordered evaluation is sent to a state prison hospital.

But Ruma granted O'Reilly's request over Hopwood's objection.

The move by O'Reilly could be an indication that he is considering some type of diminished capacity or "insanity" defense in the case, which has stunned those who knew the officer and his mother as a devoted son and mother.

As a phalanx of off-duty Peabody police officers lined the back of the courtroom in a show of support- a presence that even led Ruma to question why they were there - Sideris was led into the courtroom in handcuffs.

He wore a dark suit but no tie, dress shoes but without laces. Sideris has been under a suicide watch at the Middleton Jail since his arrest last Friday, when he turned himself into police and gave a statement confessing to beating his mother repeatedly since last March.

He had even allegedly admitted putting her in the hospital before, after that March incident, in which he told police he had beaten and kicked the elderly woman.

Police have no record of that incident, and were unaware of any problems at home, Peabody police union President Manny Costa said yesterday.

Hopwood told the judge she was prepared yesterday to call three witnesses to testify yesterday, including the Rev. Andrew Demotses of St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church, who was at the police station on the morning Sideris showed up there to give a confession. Before Sideris gave his confession, he spoke with Demotses, though it is doubtful that prosecutors would be allowed to question the priest about that conversation because of a longstanding legal privilege that protects such communication.

Demotses was also close to Melpomeni Sideris and could instead be asked about things the woman may have said to him in the past or what he may have observed. Rules about hearsay evidence do not apply to dangerousness hearings.

Also expected to testify yesterday were Peabody Police Capt. Scott Carriere, and a state police investigator, Trooper Robert Labarge, who is assigned to the Essex County District Attorney's office.

Costa said he was never made aware of any difficulties Sideris may have had in juggling a stressful job as a police officer on the overnight shift and the role of primary caretaker to an elderly mother.

"He took care of her," said Costa. "He would call her to check on her."

Costa also said that Sideris, as a member of the union, would be eligible to tap into the union's legal defense fund to cover some of his expenses, though he has not done so at this point.
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