Update: Medical examiner describes autopsy of victims in Chalue murder trial
SPRINGFIELD - A medical examiner on Tuesday described in graphic detail the wounds sustained by the three Pittsfield men that prosecutors say David Chalue helped to murder.
Gunshot holes, gaping slices, and broken bones were among the wounds found on the bodies of David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell during an autopsy that covered several days - Sept. 12-14, 2011 - performed by Dr. Jennifer Hammers at the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston.
Hammers took the stand in Hampden Superior Court and told the jury Glasser had been shot three times - including in the head and jaw. Frampton had five gunshot wounds, along with an incised wound - made by some kind of a cutting implement - that went so deep it sliced through the spinal cord.
Hammers said if someone lived through that wound they would be a quadriplegic.
Frampton and Chadwell also had deep gashes to their torsos that went into the abdominal cavity and ran from their pubic area to near the top of their rib cages. Chadwell had also been shot in the face.
All three had been dismembered.
The witness said she gave their causes of death as homicidal violence and listed their contributing wounds.
Jurors showed no discernible emotion as they flipped through the autopsy photos. Chalue, in a suit and tie, his reading glasses on, took notes as he listened to the testimony.
Forensic pathologist James Pokines told the jury that many of the bones had "chopping or hacking trauma" made with some sort of heavy blade. Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless showed him photographs of a machete and a meat cleaver found at the apartment of Caius Veiovis, another of the men charged in the killings, and Pokines agreed that these types of weapons could have made the marks. He conceded that he couldn't identify the exact weapons used, only the type. He said on two of the victims there were saw marks as well made by a thin saw or serrated knife.
Under cross-examination by Chalue's attorney, Donald W. Frank, Pokines said the marks were inconsistent with those made by a hatchet or ax. Tuesday afternoon saw evidence from Massachusetts State Trooper Steven Jones who was involved in the execution of two search warrants at 10 Cloverdale St. in Pittsfield on Sept. 12, 2011. The two apartments had been occupied by Veiovis.
He said during a search of Veiovis' old apartment that he had vacated just weeks before, they found a collage of anatomy illustrations affixed to the wall in the upstairs foyer and a book in an attaché case with more of the illustrations that included diagrams on how to perform amputations.
Pokines testified that some of the illustrations matched up with the ways in which the victims were dismembered, while others were different.
In Veiovis's newer apartment, located next door to the old one, police found a meat cleaver and Bowie knife in the kitchen, a machete in the bedroom along with two other knives and two spiked baseball bat-like pieces of wood studded with nails, said Jones. They were tested for the presumptive presence of blood but came up negative and were not seized, he testified.
Under cross-examination, Jones said there was no paperwork found tying Chalue to Veiovis's residence. He also admitted that a latex glove seized during a search of a North Adams apartment where Chalue had been staying with Ocean Sutton was found under the sink, which was not an unusual place to find them.
Capeless told the court Christopher Letailen, who was a fellow inmate of Chalue's and alleges the defendant admitted to the killings, will take the stand Wednesday afternoon. He is one of four men who spent time in jail with Chalue as he awaited trial and who say Chalue made admissions to them about the crimes.