AUBURN – A Superior Court judge has ruled that a dead woman’s lawyers will be permitted to testify at the upcoming murder trial of the ex-boyfriend accused of shooting her to death at his home in Sabattus.
Justice Joyce Wheeler’s written ruling said Melissa Mendoza’s lawyers will be allowed to tell jurors at Daniel Roberts’ trial about her allegations of domestic violence.
Communications between lawyers and clients are regarded as private, and courts in most cases have found that the privilege survives the client’s death.
Roberts has admitted that he shot Mendoza, 29, in the back of the head on Aug. 15, 2005, but claimed that he acted to protect their 2-year-old daughter, Savanna.
Roberts is scheduled to go on trial in February. Wheeler turned down a defense request to move the trial out of Androscoggin County because of extensive pretrial publicity, but said she could revisit the issue.