Judge: Jailhouse informants can testify at David Chalue triple murder trial
SPRINGFIELD -- A judge has ruled that the testimonies of two jailhouse informants can be heard at David Chalue's triple murder trial.
Two inmates allege Chalue, 47, of North Adams, admitted to killing three city men in August 2011. Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder ruled this week that the testimony was admissible at trial.
Chalue's attorney, Donald W. Frank, had argued that Jeffrey Cashman and Chris Letalien had elicited the allegedly incriminating statements while acting as government agents in violation of Chalue's rights.
Frank said both men have a history of working with police and were active police informants who tried to get Chalue to make incriminating statements.
In his written decision, Kinder said no evidence of any agreements existed between law enforcement and either man at the time. Kinder said the men contacted law enforcement after Chalue had already allegedly made the incriminating statements in conversations he initiated. Chalue's trial begins Tuesday.
Last Friday in Hampden Superior Court, Cashman, 45, said he had conversations with Chalue about possible membership in the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang, of which Chalue is a member.
Cashman, imprisoned for armed robbery, was in the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center segregation unit with Chalue when he admitted his involvement in the killings of David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell.
Police and prosecutors allege Chalue kidnapped, tortured and killed the men with the help of Adam Lee Hall and Caius Veiovis.
Cashman said Chalue gave him discovery material from the case and a coded note that put a hit on the "rats" who had spoken to police about the case.
In court last week, Chalue denied telling Cashman anything about his case. Chalue admitted being a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and to writing the note, but denied there was any hidden messages in it.
Cashman said he took notes on his interaction with Chalue and considered going to law enforcement, but waited to contact Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless.
For his cooperation, Cashman said he wanted a new identity and to be moved out of the Massachusetts prison system, but denied seeking for a reduced sentence. Cashman has nine years left.
Letalien, 29, said he and Chalue were in the segregated unit of the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction when Chalue angrily told him he had "three bodies" that he "made disappear" and who were "found cut up in the bottom of a ditch" 14 days later. Weeks before Glasser was to testify against Hall in a court case, Glasser disappeared, along with his roommate Frampton and their friend Chadwell. Their dismembered remains were later found buried in a trench in Becket.
Letalien said the exchange happened after a remark he made ended up costing Chalue a privilege.
Letalien was in jail unable to make bail for larceny of a firearm and other charges and was segregation for disciplinary reasons. He said he had worked with police on previous occasions, but police did not ask him to inform on Chalue.
In December 2011, Letalien came foreword with the information and his bail was reduced from $10,000 to $5,000. He was released only to be re-arrested on a domestic assault and battery charge for which he had his bail revoked.
Kinder said "based on the evidence introduced at the hearing," he concluded "that Chalue failed to establish that Letalien and Cashman deliberately elicited statements from him while acting as a Commonwealth agent."
Chalue has denied three counts each of murder, kidnapping and witness intimidation and remains in jail without bail.
Hall was convicted by a jury 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. Hall is serving three consecutive life sentences without parole plus up to 42 years.
Veiovis is set to go to trial in September.
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