Motion filed as murder trail opens seeks to exclude evidence.

BARNSTABLE — As the first day of jury selection wrapped up in Kelly Ridley Jr.'s murder trial Tuesday, defense attorney Christopher Belezos filed a motion to exclude evidence of Ridley fleeing the scene and, as a condition, admit guilt of criminal homicide.

"We would concede, at the outset, that he is guilty at least of manslaughter," Belezos said.

He then submitted a motion that would deal with "consciousness of guilt" evidence at the trial.

The model jury instruction for consciousness of guilt, including for fleeing, states "you may consider whether such actions indicate feelings of guilt by the defendant and whether, in turn, such feelings of guilt might tend to show actual guilt ..."

"The case law suggests, as cited in my memorandum, that only leaves the issue of the degree of culpability," Belezos said.

In this instance, criminal homicide consists of three levels: first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter, he said.

If Barnstable Superior Court Judge Robert Rufo were to exclude consciousness of guilt testimony, the jury also would not hear evidence that Ridley cut off his GPS ankle bracelet after fatally stabbing Thomas Russell Jr., 26, at a Hyannis house party in October 2016.

If the consciousness of guilt evidence were excluded, prosecutors could not use it to show premeditation, an element of first-degree murder, Belezos said.

"If you can't do consciousness of guilt, the GPS goes out," he said.

That could reduce a six- to seven-day trial to three to four days, he said.

Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Flanagan told Rufo he did not want to comment until he looked at case law, but said trial judges have a "great deal of discretion" on what evidence to admit or exclude.

Flanagan is prosecuting the case because a relative of Russell’s works in the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office.

Rufo said he would read the motion and case law, and prepare to hear arguments Wednesday before jury selection continued.

Nine jurors of the 16 required were seated Tuesday. Twelve will deliberate and four will be alternates.

The prosecution and defense have 16 peremptory challenges, meaning` they can strike a potential juror for any reason.

Prosecutors used six peremptory challenges and Belezos used five.

The rest of the jurors were excused for reasons of hardship, bias or other issues.

— Follow Wheeler Cowperthwaite on Twitter: @WheelerReporter.