UPDATE: Witness says Chalue, others were ‘goofing off' as they dismembered victims
SPRINGFIELD -- David Chalue allegedly told a fellow inmate that he and his two co-defendants were "goofing off" as if from the horror film "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as they dismembered the bodies of three Pittsfield men.
Jeffrey Cashman, a state prison inmate, recounted what he said Chalue had told him about the killings on Friday in Hampden Superior Court during the final day of testimony in Chalue's murder trial. Chalue didn't take the stand in his own defense, as is his right.
Cashman said he met Chalue while the two men were in the segregation unit of the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in 2013. Cashman said he believed he had been inducted into the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang, but found out Chalue had nixed it.
Chalue later agreed to allow him to join the gang and sent him documents related to the murder case to look at along with a note that stated there were several rats in the case that were "in the hat" and that Cashman might be called on to "make his bones" with the gang, according to the witness.
Cashman testified "in the hat" meant to either kill or seriously beat someone and making "bones" meant that he would be responsible for the attack.
In the discovery material in the case, the words "no good rat" appear beside the photograph of Adam Lee Hall and David Casey's name. Hall is Chalue's co-defendant and Casey testified he helped bury the remains of David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell.
Chalue allegedly began telling Cashman details about the killings.
Cashman testified it was Chalue who first suggested to Hall that they kidnap and kill Glasser, and that after they developed a plan, they went to Glasser's apartment "during a hurricane" in two vehicles -- a Jeep and a compact car -- and kidnapped the men. The Jeep's back seat was removed to fit bodies, he said.
Chalue went over to Casey's home and Casey "was flipping out because there were three bodies," according to Cashman.
Chalue didn't specify if the victims were dead or alive at that time, he said.
They then went over to Hall's property and they all took part in beating, torturing and killing the men and used a circular saw to dismember them, according to the witness.
It was there the men were "goofing off" as they dismembered the remains, he said.
Hall dumped his blood soaked boots, a gun and other evidence over a bridge a few days later, dropped the gun and had to kick it into the river, Cashman recalled Chalue telling him.
Chalue's attorney, Donald W. Frank, spent his cross-examination on the various inconsistencies in the testimony and on Cashman's long criminal history that included one conviction on 14 counts or armed robbery. In prior testimony witnesses said they saw Chalue kicking clothes into the river.
Frank pointed out that much of what Cashman alleged Chalue told him was contained in the documents Cashman read.
Cashman said that he and Chalue discussed what was in the report as well as other details.
Frank also questioned Cashman on his reasons for testifying against Chalue. Cashman said he wanted protection and admitted telling the DA he hoped to get into a more "laid back" facility with access to vocational and other programs.
Friday began with Frank cross-examining Jethro Kempton, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood -- as is Chalue -- who is serving time for armed robbery. He alleged Chalue had given him details about the killings.
The witness admitted he was looking for a deal when he approached the DA with information in the case. He has served seven years of a seven- to 10-year sentence and was denied parole last year.
"If they want to let me out great. They don't have to let me out for three years," he said. "I don't expect anything. All I asked was for protection."
He admitted to having a long criminal record, but said he wanted to redeem himself.
"This is the first step to having a somewhat normal life," he told the jury.
Both he and Cashman have been provided protection, according to testimony.
Frank questioned Kempton on the details of the killings that Chalue allegedly revealed to him, including the use of an ax to dismember the bodies and the time frame.
Kempton testified the kidnapping, killings and burial of the victims happened over a 24-hour period. He believed Chalue had said it was either an "all-night affair" or "all-day affair."
He also testified that Chalue had said either an ax or hatchet was used.
A forensic anthropologist had earlier opined that the marks on the victims' bones were not made by an ax or hatchet.
After the prosecution rested its case, Frank called three witnesses, including Peter Beaudoin, who said on Sept. 4, 2011, he saw Hall -- whom he knows -- and Veiovis, whom he called "the Devil dude" walking out of the woods together near Barker Road in Pittsfield. He said Chalue wasn't with them.
Christina Pellegrino, the mother of one of Chalue's children and legal guardian of another, also testified, telling the jury that she read on a local blog on Sept. 10, 2011, that the victims had been dismembered based on information from a source close to the investigation. She said she had a phone conversation with Chalue about 10 days later.
On Thursday, Massachusetts State Police Investigator Todd Briggs said that at the time of the phone call information about the victims being dismembered hadn't been made public.
Final arguments will be on Monday, followed by the jury charge after which the case will be in the jurors' hands.