Fredonia murder trial rescheduled after three years

After being adjourned for nearly three years, the Fredonia murder trial for former One Temple Square resident Jason P. Wells finally received a new trial date in front of Chautauqua County Court Judge John Ward.

The recently updated felony jury trial calendar for the county lists “The People vs. Jason Wells” as the first case for July 8, when jury selection should begin. Wells was indicted and charged with second-degree murder in the February 2010 death of fellow One Temple Square resident Ruth Fisk, a retired nurse. He was 37 at that time.

If convicted, Wells faces a minimum of 15 years to life in state prison and a maximum of 25 to life.

County District Attorney David Foley declined to comment on the record as to why it took so long to reschedule the trial, but he did say that information could be revealed at the case’s conclusion.

“We’re in the middle of prepping for the trial, which we are aware is scheduled for July 8,” he said. “We’ll be ready to go.”

Wells’ trial was initially scheduled for July 2011 after being rescheduled a few times, but Foley at that time said some “issues” were raised by the defense that needed clearing up prior to a trial.

According to the charge leveled against him, Wells allegedly stabbed and beat Fisk to death. Fisk’s body was reportedly found inside One Temple Square by a worker.

“These two knew each other; it wasn’t a situation where this person forced themselves into this apartment complex and then committed this act. That was not the nature of this,” Foley stated the day Wells was taken into custody.

The alleged murderer is represented by Lyle Hajdu, who was assigned to the case.

Foley explained a plea deal is still possible in the case, but his position continues to be a plea to the indictment solely.

“He (Wells) can present a plea anytime up until a finding of guilt, in reality,” he said. “Our position on this has been, for the whole time, to offer a plea to second-degree murder.”

Fisk’s murder was the only reported murder in Chautauqua County in 2010. At that time, it was Fredonia’s first homicide in more than a decade.

The One Temple Square apartment complex is a low-income residence for elderly and/or disabled individuals.

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