Judge rules that photographer may be in the courtroom for Capote case

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David Capote

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Eduardo Capote

— David and Eduardo Capote were in court Friday morning for a final motions hearing before the brothers’ trial on assault charges begins Monday.

In the hearing, 14th Judicial District Judge Shelley Hill granted the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s request to have still photography from inside the courtroom on two conditions: that the photographer take no photos of the jury and that the photographer not be a distraction during the proceedings.

Deputy District Attorney Rus­ty Prindle said he was concerned about the distraction but would not oppose the request for a camera. Charles Feldmann, representing the Capotes, said he would object and echoed Prindle’s concerns.

Hill said the Supreme Court likely considered all of those concerns when it ruled that media coverage could be allowed in the courtroom. She said that if the photographer did not follow the rules or became a distraction, she could remove the camera from the courtroom. She said she had not heard a request for expanded media coverage at any other trial.

The trial of the Capote brothers, who are from Miami, will begin Monday with 425 potential jurors called to the Routt County Justice Center for two days of jury selection. An eight-day trial is scheduled to follow.

The Capote brothers are charged with assault in connection to a downtown Steamboat Springs fight in January 2009 that led to the death of Sgt. 1st Class Richard Lopez.

The altercation stemmed from the two groups’ earlier disagreement about song selection on a restaurant jukebox, according to police.

Attorneys also finalized Friday the instructions they plan to give to jurors regarding the charges and other last-minute details before the trial.

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