More than 17 months since San Rafael teen Max Wade was arrested on suspicion of the daring theft of celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s yellow Lamborghini in March 2011 and attempted murder for shooting at two people in Mill Valley in April 2012, Wade, now 19, is getting closer to an Oct. 4 trial date on those charges.
Jury selection, scheduled for several weeks given the media frenzy surrounding the case and the potential difficulty to find a jury that hasn't heard of the case, begins Wednesday. Wade, who was 17 at the time of the shooting but is being tried as an adult, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he:
- Rappelled down from the roof of British Motor Car Distributors dealership on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco in the early morning hours of March 8, 2011, entering through a window and driving away in the $200,000 bright yellow 2008 Lamborghini Spyder Gallardo belonging to Guy Fieri, the celebrity chef who has hosted TV shows like Guy's Big Bite on the Food Network and Minute to Win It on NBC.
- Pulled up on a motorcycle to a white Dodge pickup parked outside a home on Evergreen Ave. in Homestead Valley on April 13, 2012, dressed in black with his face shielded by a black helmet with a dark-tinted visor, pausing briefly before firing five shots at the teen couple who sat inside and speeding away. Prosecutors allege that detectives eventually tracked Wade to a Richmond storage facility, where they found Fieri's Lamborghini.
But prior to jury selection, prosecutor Yvette Martinez-Shaw and defense attorney Charles Dresow spent Tuesday afternoon before Marin Superior Court Judge Kelly Simmons discussing security procedures for the trial, as well the admissibility of an array of testimony and evidence.
With Wade sitting hunched over in court Tuesday and appearing gaunt, first up was Dresow's attempt to have Wade unshackled during the trial and a subsequent compromise that involves Wade being tied to his chair, which is bolted to the ground, with a cord.
Wade's hands will be free and he will be able to sit and stand freely. A blue curtain in front of the defense table, as well as one draped around Wade's chair, will prevent the jury from seeing Wade's restraints, as Dresow had argued that visible shackles would prejudice the jury against Wade.
The attorneys spent much of the afternoon on “motions in limine,” or pre-trial requests to have certain evidence or testimony excluded from the trial because of its potential to be prejudicial. Those requests came from both Martinez and Dresow. Click here to see some of the issues that came up.
The trial of Max Wade is scheduled to last through mid-November.