SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Charles Wilhite , a convicted murderer who was granted a new trial, has been denied bail by a Hampden County Superior Court judge, and prosecutors plan to continue to pursue the case.
The judge cited Wilhite's past criminal history as the reason for denying bail during Monday morning's hearing in Springfield.
Wilhite was convicted of murder in the 2008 shooting death of Alberto Rodriguez of Springfield. He was granted a new trial six weeks ago after a judge found that there was no physical evidence linking Wilhite to the murder. Two witnesses also recanted their statements.
The Wilhite case has drawn strong reaction from family, friends, and community members, who have started a grassroots campaign to set Wilhite free . Advocates have spread their message online, as well as at protests outside Wilhite's court hearings.
They expressed shock and disappointment with the government's decision to continue to pursue the case.
"We felt assaulted, just learning today that the DA's office has decided to pursue the case against Charles," Wilhite's aunt, Mira Cage said.
"We were hoping that we wouldn't get to this point, where the government would look at it and figure the case wasn't as strong and not pursue Mr. Wilhite anymore, but they've chosen to re-try him," Wilhite's attorney, William O'Neil said.
A tentative pre-trial conference has been scheduled for July 25, in the meantime, he is being transferred from state prison in Shirley to the Hampden County House of Corrections in Ludlow as he awaits trial. Judge Peter Velis said that despite the great amount of support that has been shown to Wilhite, it doesn't change his history.
"I am guided by his history, not withstanding all the support he has had," Velis said, adding "It is unfortunate that he didn't have this support and guidance he is receiving by the populace (earlier)."
Cage said that Wilhite has had run-ins with the Springfield police, and this has caused there to be an effort to prosecute Wilhite no matter what.