SPRINGFIELD -- Jealous lovers, a two-foot cross-section of a tree and a man who once lived in a tent in the defendant's cellar all figured prominently during testimony Wednesday in the kidnapping and murder trial of Adam Lee Hall.
Two women, Nicole Brooks and Alexandra Ely, who admitted helping Hall, 36, fake an armed robbery in August 2010 in rural upstate New York, were on the stand for the prosecution Wednesday. Prosecutors allege that Hall faked the crime in order to frame David Glasser and discredit him as a witness in an earlier case.
At the time, Hall was seeing both women, according to testimony.
Brooks and Ely, both 24, told the jury of being in dating relationships with Hall in August 2010 when he allegedly entangled them in his plan to get back at Glasser.
"I was under the impression we were dating," Brooks said. Hall told her Ely was his former girlfriend.
"She was supposedly his ex-girlfriend, but I believe they were still dating," Brooks said from the stand.
Ely, who is the mother of one of Hall's children, said she had been in an "on again, off again" relationship with Hall, but at that time she was dating him. She learned about Brooks when she found out Hall had driven with her to his cousin's wedding in Indiana using Ely's car.
Ely said she found a wedding card from Hall and Brooks in her vehicle.
The first time she met Brooks face to face was at Hall's Peru residence in mid-August, 2010, she said. This was also the day Hall allegedly pulled out a .22 long-barreled revolver and told the women he planned to use it to frame Glasser.
Hall then allegedly set his plan in motion with the help of Ely, Brooks and a third person, Scott Langdon.
Langdon and Glasser once roomed in the same boarding house for two years and Langdon later lived in the basement of Hall's Madison Avenue home in Pittsfield. He said he lived in a tent in the cellar.
On Wednesday, Langdon told the jury that in July 2010, he was asked by Hall to offer Glasser $3,000 not to testify against him.
"He turned it down," said Langdon.
The next month, on Aug. 14, 2010, Langdon, allegedly under Hall's direction, convinced Glasser to give him a ride to Wells, N.Y. Once there, Langdon placed a bag with a gun and Brooks' wallet in Glasser's truck, he testified.
Langdon said he had no idea what was in the bag and only did it because he "didn't want to get beat with a baseball bat again."
Brooks previously testified that at Hall's behest she lied to the New York State Police, telling them that at a rural rest stop Glasser had robbed her at gunpoint, stole $800, attempted to abduct her and shot a pistol at her as she fled from him.
Hall had previously driven with Brooks to New York state and fired the gun into a tree in preparation for the fake crime, she said.
New York State Trooper Samuel Thompson, who initially interviewed Brooks about the alleged robbery, said it "seemed like a tall tale" because Brooks knew so many details about what happened, including a good description of her alleged attacker, his license plate number and the exact tree where the bullet had gone. He said typically police don't get that much identifying information of a suspect, but that "we are trained to do our due diligence."
The tree in question, or at least part of it, was presented to the jury by First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello on Wednesday. The two-foot section had a bullet hole in it and was cut from the 20-foot-high tree.
According to Brooks, the scheme unraveled after police found a receipt from Pittsfield in her wallet dated the same day as the alleged robbery and were able to piece together that she knew Hall because the two were friends on a social networking site.
Ely said she initially lied to police and denied Hall's involvement because she "was scared, upset, a lot of emotions wrapped up in one."
She told the jury that the entire scheme was thought up by Hall.
After being arrested for the charges, Ely told police that Brooks was behind the scheme. "I was jealous," she said by way of explanation.
Under cross-examination by Hall's attorney, Alan J. Black, all three witnesses admitted they were hoping for leniency on their charges for their testimony. All three denied they had been promised anything in exchange for their cooperation with the DA's office.
Brooks said she resolved her charges in New York, which included making a false statement to police, and did not receive jail time. Her charges in Massachusetts are still open and have been continued. When asked if she hoped to get the least amount of jail time in this case, she said "anybody would."
"I take responsibility for my actions," she also told the jury. "I'll take whatever comes."
During a meeting with police, after she was confronted by evidence that they knew the crime hadn't happened, Brooks asked what she would get if she cooperated, according to testimony.
"I have to worry about me. ... That's what I'm doing," she told police. In response, an investigator referenced "Law & Order" and told her she knew how the criminal justice system worked for those who cooperated.
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Follow The Berkshire Eagle's live blog of the Adam Lee Hall trial at http://www.berkshireeagle.com/ci_24860364/adam-lee-hall-trial-live-updates-from-courtroom
Adam Lee Hall, 36, of Peru, is facing 22 charges, including multiple counts of murder and kidnapping from three separate incidents from 2009 through 2011. He allegedly beat David Glasser with a baseball bat in July 2009 in retaliation for a suspected theft and then tried to discredit Glasser as a witness by framing him for a fake armed robbery in New York state.
In August 2011, weeks before he was to testify against Hall, Glasser and his roommate, Edward Frampton, and their friend Robert Chadwell, all of Pittsfield, disappeared. Their dismembered bodies were found in Becket nearly two weeks later.
Prosecutors say Hall and two others kidnapped and murdered Glasser to prevent him from testifying. The other two were killed to eliminate any witnesses, prosecutors say.
Hall and his co-defendants, David Chalue, 46, of North Adams, and Caius Veiovis, 32, of Pittsfield, have strenuously denied the allegations and remain in jail without bail.
The trials were separated from each other, with Hall's case the first to be tried. Proceedings were moved to Hampden Superior Court in Springfield because of pretrial publicity in the Berkshires.