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Murder trial takes hiatus as other court business intervenes

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CANTON — Jurors in a St. Lawrence County Court murder trial will have to wait until Monday to learn more about a glove investigators said they found in the Ogdensburg apartment of Ralph E. “Gene” Lawton the night he died.

Testimony in the trial of Ogdensburg residents Anthony W. Lalonde, Michael S. Thorpe and Michael D. Durand took a two-day hiatus at the end of Wednesday afternoon as St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew J. Ashley was testifying about how K-9 officer Hershey, a 5-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, was tracking the glove’s scent from the Ford Street apartment toward a parking area behind the building headed toward Denny Street.

Judge Jerome J. Richards apologized to jurors, telling them the break was necessary in order to attend to several other cases that required the court’s attention.

One of the issues listed on the docket for this afternoon is a pretrial conference in cases involving Dustin J. Trimm, a Winthrop man accused of murdering 21-year-old Jason Wing in the summer of 2010. Mr. Trimm’s murder trial is scheduled for May 13, but he also faces child-sex charges laid against him last summer, as well as an indictment containing six new, unrelated sexual assault charges that was handed up earlier this month.

Mr. Lalonde, then 31, of 1106 Ford St.; Mr. Thorpe, then 25, of 904 Elizabeth St.; and Mr. Durand, then 29, of 513 Elizabeth St., are accused of causing severe injuries to Mr. Lawton, 83, that led to his death after they entered his apartment to steal cash and drugs.

Mr. Lawton died after three masked men allegedly entered his Ford Street apartment to steal cash and prescription pills, turning out his pockets while struggling with Mr. Lawton and his 64-year-old roommate, Guy C. Bartlett. Mr. Bartlett testified last week that two of the assailants picked him up and tossed him onto Mr. Lawton.

Victor R. Gardner, a friend of the defendants who said he was invited to participate in the alleged robbery but declined, testified Tuesday that Mr. Thorpe told him after Mr. Lawton’s death that he hoped a glove lost at the scene wouldn’t turn up, as it was his glove and likely contained his DNA.

Under questioning by St. Lawrence County Chief Assistant District Attorney Amanda N. Nissen, Mr. Ashley said police found a black glove on a chair near where the alleged struggle took place.

Court business must conclude each day at 4:30 p.m., and Mr. Ashley took the stand shortly after 4 p.m. He will be in the witness box when testimony resumes at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

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