SPRINGFIELD -- After nearly three weeks, from jury selection to final summations, the jury is now deliberating in the murder trial of David Chalue.
The jury of seven women and five men in Hampden Superior Court spent about two hours deliberating before sending out a note to the judge indicating they were "far from" reaching a verdict. They will start again Tuesday morning.
On Monday morning, Chalue's attorney, Donald W. Frank, and Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless presented their final summations and described to the jury what they believed the evidence showed.
Chalue, 47, is facing three counts each of murder, kidnapping and witness intimidation for allegedly helping Adam Lee Hall and Caius Veiovis kidnap, torture and kill David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell in late August 2011. Chalue is charged under the theory of joint venture meaning he could be considered equally culpable for the crimes even if he didn't actually pull the trigger.
Frank told the jury that the police investigation proved his client's innocence and the prosecution's case "comes down" to four jailhouse informants and David Casey, who is charged as an accessory for helping to bury the bodies of the men. The attorney said these witnesses had "nothing to lose and everything to gain" by testifying as they did.
He said the jailhouse informants, Christopher Letalien, Jason Lemiuex, Jeffrey Cahsman and Jethro Kempton, didn't come forward because they are good citizens, but are looking for freedom in exchange for their testimony.
"They hold out hope for their dreams and aspirations," he said." It's the only hope they have. It does not make honest men out of dishonest men. It makes unreliable witnesses."
He said many of the details the men gave were incorrect, including the weapons allegedly used in the dismemberment's of the victims, and could have been gleaned from other sources, and not from Chalue, as the men allege.
Casey, he said, had earlier testified that Hall hadn't told him the names of the other men involved in the crimes. But much later, with the hope of getting his bail reduced, told police that he recalled Hall telling him that Chalue, whom he called Davey, might have been participated in the killings.
Capeless told the jury to focus on all the evidence, not to consider just some testimony or to speculate.
"In some parts the evidence is overwhelming, in some cases compelling," said the DA. "But it shows guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
Capeless told the jury not to forget the case was about Glasser, Frampton and Chadwell who were murdered in a "vicious and cruel" manner and "went to their deaths terrified."
He said that Hall's obsession with keeping Glasser from testifying against him made the murders almost "inevitable," but that it was Chalue who pushed Hall with an "utterly simple, utterly cruel plan" to kidnap and kill him.
The DA reminded the jury that he had said from the outset there would be no DNA or similar evidence, but that it wasn't an impediment for the jury to finding Chalue guilty of the crimes, and it simply showed that Chalue and his codefendants were careful and destroyed evidence.
He said the testimony of the witnesses who were in jail with Chalue was credible and corroborated other evidence in the case. The DA said they were promised nothing.
"You have to view all the evidence together as a whole," he said. "It shouts his guilt loudly and clearly."
During the final summations, Chalue, in a suit and tie and reading glasses, looked on attentively. After the jury began deliberations, he seemed to be in good spirits, chatting with his mother and brother.