- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - The death penalty retrial of a man charged with killing a Rutland supermarket worker more than 16 years ago will begin on schedule at the end of February, a federal judge ruled.

In the decision issued Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford rejected a request for a delay in the retrial of Donald Fell, who had argued for the extra time because defense attorneys, Michael Burt and John Philipsborn, have been participating in another federal death penalty case in Massachusetts.

But Crawford wrote those delays were expected.

“The court recognizes the gravity of the responsibilities Mr. Burt and Mr. Philipsborn carry in this case,” he wrote. “But it also recognizes the obligation it has to bring this matter to trial.”

Fell, 36, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2005 for the 2000 abduction and killing of Terry King, a North Clarendon grandmother who was abducted when she arrived for work at a Rutland supermarket in November 2000. She was later killed in New York.

Fell’s conviction was overturned in 2014 due to juror misconduct.

In their original request to delay the trial, Fell’s attorneys asked to be taken off the case if the judge refused to delay the trial. But Crawford refused that request as well.

The trial is now scheduled to begin Feb. 27 at the federal courthouse in Rutland. The guilt or innocence phase of the trial is expected to last at least a month. If Fell is convicted, the jury would then consider whether he should be executed.

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