BOSTON — The state’s highest court on Tuesday rejected a bid for a new trial by David Chalue, one of the three defendants convicted for a 2011 Berkshire County triple murder where three Pittsfield men were abducted, killed and dismembered, and then buried in the woods in Becket.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a review of the 2013 trial found no grounds to overturn Chalue’s three convictions for first-degree murder or to reduce his three sentences for life in prison without parole.
“We affirm the convictions and conclude that the defendant is not entitled to relief,” notes the decision that was penned by Justice David A. Lowy, and endorsed by Chief Justices Kimberly Budd, and justices Frank M. Gaziano, Elspeth B. Cypher, and Scott L. Kafker.
Chalue, a former Springfield resident, was convicted, along with Caius Veiovis and Adam Lee Hall of Peru, for first-degree murder in the killing of Pittsfield residents David Glasser, 44, Edward Frampton, 58, and Robert Chadwell, 47.
The bodies of Glasser, Frampton and Chadwell were found buried in a trench in Becket 10 days after they went missing in August 2011. They had been shot and stabbed multiple times, and then dismembered and buried in plastic bags.
Glasser had been scheduled to testify in two criminal cases against Hall, who had been identified as a sergeant at arms with the local chapter of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club.
The prosecution argued that Hall enlisted Veiovis and Chalue to help abduct and murder Glasser to prevent his testimony. Frampton, Glasser’s roommate, and Chadwell were also taken and killed because they witnessed the abduction of Glasser.
Hall, Veiovis and Chalue were each tried separately, and because of the publicity generated by details of the killings, the trials were each relocated from Pittsfield to Hampden Superior Court in Springfield.
The SJC has previously rejected separate bids by Hall and Veiovis to have their murder convictions overturned.
Chalue was represented for the appeal by attorney Andrew S. Crouch of Cambridge, while former Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless represented the prosecution as a special assistant district attorney for the Berkshire DA’s office.
“We thank former District Attorney Capeless for his tireless work on these appeals and his commitment to ensuring the court upholds the convictions,” said Andre McKeever, spokesman for current Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington.
In appealing the conviction, Chalue pointed to several errors from the original trial that he said influenced the outcome.
Among them were the judge offered improper instructions to the jury, and allowed the entering of “various categories of unduly prejudicial character evidence,” and rejected the prosecution’s argument that statements Hall made should be considered hearsay.
Finally, the appeal charged that the prosecution “made numerous improper statements in his opening and closing remarks.”
In rejecting the appeal and affirming the verdict, the SJC ruling notes “We conclude that the verdicts of murder in the first degree are consistent with justice, and we decline our authority … to order a new trial or direct the entry of verdicts of a lesser degree of guilt.”