Putting Together the Pieces of the Puzzle
The work of assembling a trial team and developing an effective trial strategy was just as challenging and important to the successful litigation of this case as was the reconstruction of the facts of the murder. Mason's initial consideration of this job had begun in February 1999 as he looked ahead to a looming trial date. There would be months of tracking down old trial transcripts, interviewing witnesses all over the country, gathering up and sorting through evidence, and preparing his case. The theme, he knew, would not coalesce until just before the trial and would evolve from sorting through the bits of collected evidence and piecing together the work of each team member. But developing a strategy was key, and it would entail long days of intense discussions and too many missed family dinners.
Mason's first task in those early days was to select his trial team from among the dozens of attorneys who already had committed their tireless energy and contributed keen insights. These few would be at the front line of the trial over the upcoming months; the case would dominate their waking thoughts and, most likely, invade their dreams. He chose Steve Dever to share the responsibility for trying the case. Dever had been an assistant prosecutor since 1985 and had tried more homicide cases than anyone in the state. He chose Dean Boland, a hardworking assistant prosecutor since 1996, because he was highly trained in trial technology, certainly an important part of this case. Marilyn Barkly Cassidy, a member of the Civil Division of the Prosecutor's Office since 1992, was brought on board to deal with the important legal issues and nuances addressed by this civil action. And Mason asked Kathleen Martin, one of the top government attorneys in the state, to assist with the complex civil proceedings.