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JUDGE DELAYS RULING ON EVIDENCE IN MURDER CASE

A judge may decide next week whether statements made by a man accused of murder can be used against him.

Allegany County Judge Wayne A. Feeman Jr. ruled Tuesday that a Huntley hearing -- held to determine the admissibility of evidence -- will remain open until Monday. Ray Bulson, the defense lawyer for 19-year-old Fred E. Perry of Wellsville, had requested that the hearing reconvene at that time so that Bulson could review documents in the case.

Bulson had asked that the statements Perry allegedly made to police and fellow jail inmates be kept out of the trial.

Feeman is expected to issue a written decision on whether the statements described Tuesday may be used at trial.

Perry and Joseph Allen, 16, also of Wellsville, are accused of murder, conspiracy, robbery and arson in the death May 21 of James J. Doan of Alma. Perry and Allen have been in the Allegany County Jail in Belmont since three days after Doan's slaying.

They are accused of shooting him in his home, robbing him, hauling his body to a nearby barn and setting fire to the barn in an attempt to conceal the crime.

District Attorney Terry Parker presented three witnesses Tuesday to testify about statements Perry made. Bulson has the option to recall the three -- State Police Investigator William Fish, Probation Officer Robert Starks or Allegany County Jail inmate Michael Lopez -- and other witnesses.

The hearing Tuesday was held after a justice from the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court decided that issues related to Perry's right to a fair trial might not arise at the hearing. Bulson had asked that the hearing be closed to the media so that details about Perry's statements would not be disseminated, possibly affecting the jury pool.

Justice Donald Wisner told Feeman, Bulson, Parker and lawyers for the Patriot, a weekly newspaper based in Cuba, to proceed with the hearing on the assumption that the contents of Perry's statements might not come up. That was the case Tuesday; events surrounding the statement were raised, but not the statements themselves.

Feeman scheduled the hearing, banning pretrial publication of the statements themselves, and the newspaper took the issue to the appeals court.

Perry's trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 2.

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