Retrial of former police sergeant in 1993 slaying of mistress to begin Defense attorney may ask for change of venue

November 13, 1995|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

James Allan Kulbicki, whose conviction in the killing of a woman with whom he had an adulterous affair was overturned, returns to Baltimore County Circuit Court today to stand trial a second time.

The former city police sergeant was convicted in October 1993 of first-degree murder in the death of Gina Marie Nueslein, 22, a Royal Farm Store worker who bore him a son during their three-year affair.

She disappeared on her way to work Jan. 9, 1993. Her body was found the next day in Gunpowder State Park. She had been shot in the head, a few days before a paternity hearing at which Mr. Kulbicki was to be ordered to make child-support payments to her.

Prosecutors focused their case on blood found on Mr. Kulbicki's jacket and blood stains found in his truck. Mr. Kulbicki, 38, offered a list of errands he was doing at the time of the murder.

The Court of Special Appeals reversed the conviction in December because of Baltimore County Circuit Judge John Grason Turnbull II's decision not to allow Mr. Kulbicki to take the stand in response to the testimony of two women called by the state as rebuttal witnesses.

Mr. Kulbicki has been held at Baltimore County Detention Center.

Jury selection in the retrial begins today. Patricia Hall, Mr. Kulbicki's attorney, said she is concerned about whether an impartial jury can be found.

If not, she said, she will consider requesting a change of venue. Baltimore County Jury Commissioner Nancy Tilton said last week that 150 potential jurors -- more than usual -- will be available.

Baltimore County prosecutors will use new technology to present pictures, fingerprints and other evidence on a television screen in the courtroom, make quick copies and highlight exhibits.

The county bought four machines from a New York-based company, DOAR Communications, with $18,000 in drug-forfeiture money. They are:

* A wireless presenter, on which attorneys place evidence. An image of the evidence appears on a television screen, and can be split to compare signatures or fingerprints.

* An 18-inch-square, box-shaped printer which prints evidence in the form of a 5-by-7-inch color photograph.

* Studio-Vision, a remote control device that allows prosecutors to circle or underline displays on the presenter by tapping a hand-held control with a pointer from a distance.

* A disk partner, which stores photographs and other evidence so attorneys can play them instantly on the television screen and move swiftly through opening and closing arguments.

Most of the equipment will be used in the Kulbicki trial, which is expected to last a week, said Deputy State's Attorney Sue A. Schenning.

The equipment "will help us present our evidence better -- it's a visual aid to assist us to enhance in prosecution of the cases," she said.

Versions of DOAR equipment were used in the O. J. Simpson and Susan Smith trials. The equipment has been obtained by the Howard County state's attorney's office, and Anne Arundel courtrooms will be equipped similarly in 1998, officials said.

Assistant Baltimore County State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst, used the presenter in a recent murder trial. While it may have saved her minutes in her presentation, she said, "the greater benefit" is that jurors can see evidence "as a unified body, as opposed to having it passed along and each person viewing it individually."

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