(Dec 5, 2014) After what appeared to be genuine witness statements were published on a site endorsed, if not directly maintained, by the family of Caleb Edwin-Earl Ochse, State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby promised he “would be taking steps.”
Those steps played out at what was nominally a motions hearing in the manslaughter case where Ochse, along with Christopher Blake Kendall are accused in the death of Lehigh County Pa., man Justin Cancelliere.
The accused sat together, their appearances showing their differing stations. Kendall, who was released after surrendering himself to police had a fresh haircut, was clean shaven and smartly dressed. Ochse, jailed since his arrest, wore a jumpsuit and leg irons.
Before Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton III began proceedings, there was a buzz about the courtroom.
“It’s me,” Kendall whispered to Ochse, before he was ushered into a conference room. Half a dozen court officers and functionaries could be overheard mentioning a “plea bargain.”
Kendall returned to court before the hearing began, but didn’t say another word to Ochse until after the hearing. No further mention of a plea bargain was made.
Judge Groton began the hearing by explaining he would be taking an action that would render the rest of the pending motions irrelevant. He called for the “Ochse family lawyer,” and Michael Hannon, the named partner in a Washington D.C. law firm, appeared.
The judge asked if Hannon was licensed to practice law in Maryland, and Hannon said he was. Groton explained to Hannon that the medical examiner’s report was to be provided only to an expert for testimony, and that the report was not to distributed anywhere else.
Hannon hesitated, but replied with, “If it is a court order,” to which Groton replied, “It is,” and promptly closed the proceeding. No other issues in the case were heard. The trial is set to begin Jan. 7.
Ochse, 27, and Kendall, 22, are accused in the death, caused by head and neck trauma ruled a homicide by Atlantic General Hospital, of Justin Cancelliere, 37, in an altercation at the end of a long night in late August.
It is generally agreed that there was an altercation between the accused and Cancelliere, but the nature of the argument has not been made public. Close to Election Day, the website www.Justice-for-locals.com launched and provided links to video surveillance and witness statements. A full-page advertisement for the site ran with a “paid for by the parents of Caleb Ochse” disclaimer.
Oglesby declined to comment.