SPRINGFIELD -- David Chalue took the stand Friday and denied he told a fellow inmate he had murdered three men, but admitted he was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.
Chalue, 47, of North Adams, testified in Hampden Superior Court in response to accusations made by a fellow inmate that the defendant had confessed to him about killing David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell.
Police and prosecutors allege Chalue, Adam Lee Hall and Caius Veiovis kidnapped, tortured and killed the three men in August 2011.
Jeffrey Cashman, 45, who is serving nine years in state prison for armed robbery, said from the stand that while he and Chalue were in the segregated unit of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley for about 10 days in 2013, Chalue admitted to the killings. He said Chalue also sent him discovery material in his case to read and a note in which Chalue would allow him into the Aryan Brotherhood if he "took out" the "rats" associated with the case as part of his initiation. The allegedly coded note, that Chalue admitted penning, said "all the rats in the case" were "in the hat" and that Cashman could "make his bones ... when the time comes." Cashman explained that "in the hat" meant that "someone's going to take you out" and "making your bones" meant "doing a hit on someone who's in the hat."
In Chalue's discovery material the words "No good rat" appear next to a photograph of Hall and next to Casey's name.
Cashman said he had been inducted into the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang, but was later told it didn't count because the person who brought him in didn't have the authority to do it. He said the order to remove him from the gang came from Chalue, whom he later met when they were both in the segregated unit. He said he approached him about the situation and Chalue agreed to recommend him as a potential member. Cashman said he has since decided against joining the gang.
The witness told the court he took notes from the discovery because he had considered going to law enforcement with what Chalue had allegedly told him, but waited before contacting Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capless.
Under cross-examination by Chalue's attorney Donald W. Frank, Cashman said he wanted a new identity and to be moved out of the Massachusetts prison system for his cooperation, but denied he was looking for a reduced sentence.
Chalue took the stand and told the court he never gave Cashman details about his case. He said he didn't give Cashman the discovery material, but admitted penning the note.
Under cross-examination by Capeless, Chalue at first refused to say whether he was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, but when ordered by Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder to answer the question, he admitted he was in the gang.
When questioned about the note, he denied there was any hidden meaning and said he was only trying to let Cashman know what he was getting into "before he got his feet wet."
Frank is trying to keep out statements from Cashman and another "jailhouse informant," Chris Letalien, 29, who he said had worked with law enforcement on previous occasions, were acting as agents of law enforcement and attempted to illicit alleged statements in violation of Chalue's rights.
Both Letalien and his lawyer, Marc C. Vincelette Sr., took the stand on Friday.
Letalien said in June 2011 he was arrested in North Adams on charges of larceny of a firearm and breaking into a depository, among other charges, couldn't make bail and ended up in the segregation unit of the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction a few months later when Chalue, Hall and Veiovis were brought there. He said he made a remark about the new arrivals being allowed hot water to make coffee -- something only reserved for inmates who were in segregation for non-disciplinary reasons -- and that he was later confronted by Chalue after the privilege was taken away.
Chalue allegedly told him he had "three bodies" that he "made disappear" and that 14 days later they were found cut up in a ditch.
Just weeks before Glasser was to testify against Hall, he disappeared, along with Frampton, who was his roommate, and their friend Chadwell.
The victims' dismembered remains were discovered by police in Becket nearly two weeks later buried in a trench.
"His eyes went black," said Letalien, "It was like he went somewhere else. I was in shock, scared. His eyes freaked me out a little."
Letalien admitted he had worked with police on previous occasions, but said he did not try and establish a relationship with Chalue at the request of law enforcement.
Frank called Vincelette to the stand and questioned him about whether he had discussed his client's case in relation to being a potential prosecution witness against Chalue.
Capeless interrupted the examination to say that he would stipulate that his office requested that Letalien's bail be reduced from $10,000 to $5,000 in light of his willingness to cooperate.
Letalien was again arrested on domestic assault and battery charges and also had a charge of possession of heroin in Northampton.
Under cross by Capeless, Vincelette said he understood that the policy of the DA's office was that there were "no deals, no winks, no ‘I got yous,' nothing" when it came to defendants agreeing to testify for the prosecution.
The judge has taken the motions under consideration. The hearing continues Monday.
Chalue has denied three counts each of murder, kidnapping and witness intimidation and remains in jail without bail. A jury convicted Hall in February of murdering Glasser to keep him from testifying in an upcoming case and the other two men to prevent there being any witnesses.
He is serving three consecutive life sentences without parole plus up to 42 years.
Veiovis is set to go to trial in September.