BREAKING NEWS: Mashpee School Superintendent Found Not Guilty of Trespassing and B&E Charges

FALMOUTH-- 02/16/16-Brian Hyde hugs his attorney Drew Segadelli after Judge Mary Orfanello found Hyde not guilty. Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times021716sh20

FALMOUTH– Brian Hyde hugs his attorney Drew Segadelli after Judge Mary Orfanello found Hyde not guilty. Court Pool Photo/Steve Heaslip

FALMOUTH – Mashpee School Superintendent Brian Hyde was found not guilty Wednesday on the charges of trespassing and breaking and entering in connection with a residency check at the home of a student last year.

Falmouth District Court Judge Mary Orfanello said that the Commonwealth failed to establish the elements of both charges, and ruled in favor of the  motion by Hyde’s attorney, Drew Segadelli, to issue a not guilty finding.

Hyde hugged Segadelli following the decision and left the courtroom with his family. He declined to immediately comment.

In ruling in favor of the defense motion, made after Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Dan Higgins rested the Commonwealth’s case, the judge said the prosecution failed to prove the elements of trespass and breaking and entering to the degree that it could go the jury for a finding.

Segadelli said that not only was there no trespass, but Hyde was actually allowed into the home, according to witness testimony.

“He was there for the sole purpose of conducting a residency check,” he argued in his motion to dismiss the charges.

FALMOUTH-- 02/16/16 Marilyn King, left, and daughter Isabel leave court after Judge Mary Orfanello found Hyde not guilty. Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times021716sh26

FALMOUTH– Marilyn King, left, and daughter Isabel leave court after Judge Mary Orfanello found Hyde not guilty. Court pool photo/Steve Heaslip

Higgins countered that there was a “real question of fact” and should therefore be up to the jury. “The defendant grabbed the handle and pulled the door open fully,” Higgins said.

But the judge ruled there was not “sufficient” evidence for each element to be satisfied  beyond a reasonable doubt, detailing the law of trespass and the elements that would be required for a guilty finding.

“Nobody told him to leave, nobody told him he can’t be there,” said Orfanello in her ruling from the bench.

She made the same findings on the breaking and entering charge, ruling Hyde never intended to break into the house and never intended to commit a misdemeanor, both required for a guilty finding.

The prosecution argued the “breaking” element was satisfied because the grandmother who opened the door had her hand on the door knob.

Segadelli praised the judge’s ruling, saying the prosecution failed to prove its case.

“It didn’t go to a jury. A judge took it from the jury. It happens in very unusual circumstances when they do that, because there’s not even a quantum of evidence, enough for them to even consider it. It would be a mistake to let them even attempt to hear this evidence,” said Segadelli.

He said Hyde was the victim of biased reporting by the Cape Cod Times for months, but was unable to respond as he faced the charges.

“And he essentially had to stand mute because there was such a lack of evidence. We didn’t hear from him in this trial because we didn’t need to,” said Segadelli.

Cape Cod Times Editor Paul Pronovost said they stand by their reporting.

“All we’ve always wanted from the very beginning is the pursuit of the truth. That’s what we’ve been after,” Pronovost said after the trial concluded.

FALMOUTH-- 02/16/16-Brian Hyde holds his wife Kristen's hand as they head out of court after Judge Mary Orfanello found Hyde not guilty. Steve Heaslip/Cape Cod Times021716sh23

FALMOUTH– Brian Hyde holds his wife Kristen’s hand as they head out of court after Judge Mary Orfanello found Hyde not guilty. Court pool photo/ Steve Heaslip

Attorney Mark Gildea, who has also represented Hyde since charges were first filed, urged the Mashpee School Committee to immediately bring Hyde back to work.

“Mr. Hyde looks forward to returning to work as superintendent of schools in the Town of Mashpee. We feel the school committee should reinstate him to his position forthwith,” Gildea said.

Earlier in the day Wednesday, witnesses took the stand to detail their accounts of Hyde’s residency check last September.

Segadelli, argued that his client was in fact welcomed into the home by Isabel King’s grandmother and at no time was asked to leave by the grandmother or King’s mother, Marilyn King.

The first witness called to the stand was health insurance agent Molee Pratt, who was conducting an exam on Erlinda Valle, the grandmother of Isabel King on the morning of September 29.

Pratt testified that Hyde came in through the door, past Valle, who had answered the door, and into the home. Pratt said that Hyde went upstairs and was there for approximately five minutes and said she heard the sound of someone going through doors and drawers.

Segadelli questioned a number of the details of Pratt’s testimony, including the length of time that she believed Hyde spent in the upstairs portion of the home. Pratt told Segadelli that she “wasn’t paying too much attention to exactly what was going on that day,” and was more focused on her job and the insurance paperwork related to the physical exam of Ms. Valle.

Valle testified that she asked Hyde who he was when she answered the door, and that Hyde asked if Isabel was living at the home. Valle told Assistant District Attorney Dan Higgins that Hyde held the knob, opened the door wider, and then entered. But in cross-examination, Valle told defense attorney Segadelli that she gestured to Hyde towards a spot inside the home and stepped back while stating “you have right here.” Valle had to see a video of the police re-creation of the event to recall her memory.

Both attorneys had difficulty communicating with Valle, who is from the Philippines and moved to the United States in 2010. A translator was not available.

Mashpee School Resource Officer William Cuozzo said he was contacted by Hyde on the morning of the visit to come to the home on Winsdor Way, where Hyde planned to conduct a residency check. Cuozzo said the visits are not considered to be a police function by the department, and says officers are only present to “keep the peace.” It was Marilyn King, Cuozzo said, who invited him into the home, after she expressed that Hyde did not believe her that her daughter lived at the residence.

Cuozzo said Hyde’s demeanor was “fine,” and said at no point did King ask him or Hyde to leave the home.

Testimony late in the morning session focused on comments Hyde allegedly made regarding the visit.

Mashpee Police Detective Sergeant Sean Sullivan provided information on the investigation the police department conducted into Hyde. According to that report, Hyde claimed he was invited into the home by Valle, who greeted him with a “Hello, good morning.” Sullivan testified that Hyde said King was with him in the upstairs portion of the home while he was conducting the check.

Sullivan also testified that Hyde was not asked to leave the home at any point and said he somewhat recalled Valle re-creating the gesture she made to Hyde during the police investigation into the matter. The defense argues the gesture was one that would’ve welcomed Hyde into the home.

Mashpee School Committee member George Schmidt testified that he had a conversation with Hyde on November 4 at the Cape Codder in Hyannis, in which Hyde asked Schmidt for his support. According to Schmidt, Hyde said he walked up to the home and entered it, saying the door was open and that he believed it was an invitation. Schmidt told attorney Segadelli that Hyde never stated he “pushed” the door open.

Marilyn and Isabel King declined to comment as they left the courtroom Wedndesday.

By MATT MCCARTHY and MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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