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Attorney says he's ready to defend Scott Doll in murder trial

By Howard B. Owens

BATAVIA, NY -- Scott Doll didn't kill Joseph Benaquist. That's the defense attorney Paul Cambria said he will present at the Corfu man's murder trial starting May 3.

Cambria won't rely on expert psychological testimony to try and explain Doll's actions or statements, Cambria said at a hearing in Genesee County Court this morning.

"There is no such defense," Cambria told Judge Robert Noonan after District Attorney Lawrence Friedman asked for the results of any psychological evaluation of Doll. Cambria said no such evaluation has been done because Doll's state of mind won't be an issue in the trial.

"The defense is the defendant is not guilty. That’s the defense. We do not intend to offer any sort of psychological testimony. He didn't do it. That’s the the defense of the case."

Today's hearing was primarily to give Doll a chance to accept any plea offer before the trial date is confirmed, but Friedman hasn't made a plea offer to Doll.

"It has been the understanding from the start of this case that it had to be tried and Mr. Cambria agreed with that assessment," Friedman said.

The two attorneys, as well as Cambria's co-counsel, Daniel Killelea, discussed various issues regarding evidence in the case.

Killelea raised a concern about the prosecution's inability, so far, to narrow the time of Benaquist's death further than some time between 4:45 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. p.m., Feb. 16-17, 2009 (the prosecution puts the time of attack at between 4:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.).

"Obviously, a more narrow time is important to us as we prepare our defense, and at trial, to effectively represent Mr. Doll," Killelea said.

Judge Noonan said he couldn't really order the prosecution to name a more particular  time if Friedman doesn't have the evidence to draw that conclusion.

Outside of court, Cambria said the Sheriff's Office and District Attorney reached a hasty conclusion that Doll killed the 66-year-old Benaquist, who was found bludgeoned to death in the driveway of his Pembroke home. Cambria said they concluded Doll was the killer even before all of the forensic evidence was gathered.

"They rushed to judgement here," Cambria said. "In two days they had an indictment. We’re getting reports now (from the forensics lab). We just got one last week. And here they are rushing to judgment two days after it’s over. As far as we’re concerned, they have their opinion and when they get to court and they get crossed examined and we put in our evidence, then the jury will make a determination."

Sheriff's Office investigators say Doll was found covered with blood wandering on the east side of North Lake Road. 

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

For previous coverage, click here.

Photos: Cambria, back left, Killelea, and Doll exit the court house. Inset: Paul Cambria talks with the media.

Howard B. Owens

I don't know. Really. As much as I've followed this case. I don't know.

In fact, I got a little irritated with Cambria because he didn't like the way I phrased one of my questions (he said to another reporter, "this guy's already got him convicted." I told him that is bunk and pointed out that my coverage of this case has been cited as totally fair by supporters of Scott Doll.

I think I could totally be qualified to be a juror on this case because at this point, I don't know what to think. I'm not convinced either way.

I would love to cover this trial and just might -- but geez, three weeks of sitting in court every day -- just not sure I can spare that kind of time for court coverage.

Mar 16, 2010, 3:14pm Permalink
George Richardson

This is where you call upon your interns. Or, post something on the bulletin board at GCC, I'll bet they could get credits. It's pretty interesting though, I can tell you that. I went to highschool with his brother. I hope he's innocent, it would make a great book if he is.
Thanks again Howard.

Mar 16, 2010, 4:39pm Permalink

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