Attorney fears Caius Veiovis' horns, tattoos will bias jurors in triple murder trial
SPRINGFIELD -- The attorney for accused killer Caius Veiovis told a judge on Thursday that he is concerned that his client's "unusual appearance" could make it hard for him to get fair jury.
Veiovis, the last of three men heading to trial in the slayings of three Pittsfield men in August 2011, has horn implants and facial tattoos.
"There's a serious factor of curiosity and concern when the jury first sees him," Veiovis' attorney, James G. Reardon Jr., said in Hampden Superior Court.
Concern about Veiovis' appearance was one of several topics handled during a hearing Thursday leading up to the trial, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 3. The prosecution's case could take as long as 2 1/2 weeks.
Reardon said he had received a lot of suggestions on the subject of his client's appearance -- much of it unsolicited -- and he wanted to discuss how to handle the issue with the court.
"I think we have to get it out there," he said, adding that he wanted to make sure potential jurors were able to clearly see his client's features.
During Thursday's hearing, Veiovis had his shoulder-length hair pulled back into a ponytail, revealing his horn implants, a tattoo featuring Norse Runes -- an ancient Germanic alphabet -- across his right cheek and the numbers 666 in the center of his forehead.
Reardon said he had heard "urban legends" concerning the numbers 666, but he wasn't fully aware of what it meant. He said jurors might have their own ideas on the subject.
Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless told the court he wasn't planning to go into any of the possible meanings of the tattoos or try "to connect them to the charges."
The prosecutor suggested showing the potential jurors a close-up photograph of Veiovis, one that would likely be allowed into evidence during the trial.
Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder said he was disinclined to have a photograph of the defendant on a screen while a jury was being chosen.
"It rubs me the wrong way," he said.
He decided that he would ask potential jurors if there was anything about the defendant's appearance that could keep them from being fair and he would let them look at Veiovis' photo at the time they are to be individually interviewed.
Kinder asked if discussions concerning a plea deal had borne fruit.
Reardon said after talking with his client he didn't expect negotiations to move forward.
Veiovis, 33, of Pittsfield, is accused of helping Adam Lee Hall, 37, of Peru, and David Chalue, 47, kidnap, torture, kill and dismember David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell in late August 2011 as Tropical Storm Irene was bearing down on the Berkshires.
Veiovis has denied three counts each of murder, kidnapping and witness intimidation.
Sometime in the early morning hours of Aug. 28, 2011, Glasser and his roommate Frampton and their friend Chadwell disappeared from Glasser and Frampton's Linden Street apartment in Pittsfield. Their dismembered remains were later found buried in a trench in Becket.
Investigators said the defendants killed Glasser to keep him from testifying against Hall in another case. The other men were killed to eliminate any witnesses, according to police.
Hall was found guilty of multiple charges, including first-degree murder and kidnapping, in February following his trial in Hampden Superior Court and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences plus 42 years. In May, Chalue was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences after a jury found him guilty on three counts of first-degree murder and six other charges.
On Thursday, Kinder denied a motion by Reardon to keep out of the trial photographs that were taken of various weapons found at Veiovis's Cloverdale Street apartment during the police investigation. Police found machetes, knives and spiked bats during a search of the residence. None were taken since they tested negative for blood, according to testimony in the earlier trials.
The judge said the images had "probative value" since they showed that the defendant had access to weapons. The firearms used in the killings and the tools used to dismember the bodies have never been recovered.
Kinder likewise denied a motion to keep out anatomical and surgical illustrations found collaged on the wall of Veiovis' old apartment.
A request by Reardon to once again move the trial, which was already moved out of Berkshire County due to pretrial publicity, also was denied. Reardon believes there would be more potential jurors who were unaware of the case further east.
Kinder said he was surprised by the number of people unaware of the case during jury selection in the Chalue trial and believes "we can select a fair and impartial jury" in Springfield.
Veiovis remains at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction held without bail in the segregated unit.
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