A drug dealer who allegedly ordered a hit on two Boise men after they stole marijuana from him wants his legal case separated from the accused triggerman’s after discovery of a jailhouse letter that implicates both men in the murders.
Anthony J. Robins Jr., 34, of Fremont, Calif., will be unfairly prejudiced if the “powerfully incriminating” letter to Robins written by John C. Douglas, the accused murderer, is introduced as evidence in the joint trial of the two men, Robins’ attorney wrote in a court filing. The two men are scheduled to go to trial together Aug. 10.
“The letter that was presumably authored by Mr. Douglas is an incriminating extrajudicial statement that confesses the guilt of both defendants and which encourages Mr. Robins to avoid his guilt by misleading the jury,” wrote lawyer Scott McKay of Boise.
Douglas, 45, of Reading, Pa., is charged with shooting to death Boise residents Travontae Calloway, 27, and Elliott Bailey, 28. He is also accused of shooting Jeanette Juraska, who was injured in the May 9, 2014, attack at a two-story apartment she shared with Calloway, her boyfriend, at 2178 S. Orchard St.
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The letter purportedly written by Douglas was turned over to prosecutors by an unnamed attorney who represented a different inmate at the Ada County Jail. It is unclear when the letter was written, how the attorney’s client obtained it or whether that inmate has any connection to the case.
Philadelphia attorney Jack McMahon, who represents Douglas, was not available for comment Thursday.
In a separate filing, McKay asks that the charges against Robins — two counts of aiding and abetting murder and one count of aiding and abetting attempted murder — be dismissed after Ada County Jail deputies seized six pages of confidential legal notes from Robins’ cell and turned them over to prosecutors.
“The seizure and review of the attorney-client privileged notes of Mr. Robins by state officials prosecuting him violate Mr. Robins’ right to counsel and due process of law guaranteed by the U.S. and Idaho constitutions,” McKay wrote.
Deputy Ada County Prosecutor Shelley Akamatsu, who is handling the case, said jail inmates are aware their cells and property bins are “subject to search at any time.” Any evidence that is found can be legally confiscated and booked into evidence, she said.
“This claim involves paperwork that was confiscated from the inmates property bin, an area which is clearly subject to regular searches and was immediately provided to his attorney,” Akamatsu said.
The notes were made by Robins as he reviewed 6,000 pages of reports and other materials related to the case. He jotted down items that he wanted to discuss with lead attorney Brian McMonagle when his Philadelphia lawyer came to Boise.
The notes “contain sensitive, privileged observations and factual matters,” McKay wrote in his filing.
“The state has now availed itself of information reflected in Mr. Robins’ privileged notes to which it would otherwise not be entitled nor privy,” McKay wrote.
Whether the paperwork in possession of prosecutors can be used in court is a legal question that will have to be determined by Judge Sam Hoagland, who is presiding over the case, Akamatsu said.