PITTSFIELD — Prosecutors didn’t persuade a jury that Yulanda Chadwell’s brother shot and killed a man in 2017. Now, they plan to put her on trial for allegedly misleading investigators.
Yulanda Chadwell, 41, of Pittsfield, is accused of lying to police about her brother’s whereabouts the evening of July 4, 2017, the night Paul Henry was shot dead on John Street. She has pleaded not guilty to a single count of misleading a police officer.
Her brother, J.C. Chadwell, was found not guilty of Henry’s murder late last month by a Berkshire Superior Court jury.
At J.C. Chadwell’s trial, the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office relied in part on an audio- and video-recorded interview from 2018 during which Chadwell told investigators he pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Henry.
Chadwell tried unsuccessfully in 2019 to have video of that interview excluded from evidence, but a judge ruled it was admissible after determining that Chadwell gave the statement to police of his own free will, and that Pittsfield police conducted the interview properly.
When Chadwell took the stand in his own defense last month, he testified he had given the statement involuntarily and said he had falsely confessed to the shooting.
He and his defense lawyers introduced to jurors the name of an unindicted third party, whom they claimed had actually fired the fatal shot at Henry. The prosecution did not call any witnesses to rebut Chadwell’s testimony.
The office of Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington is pursuing the case against Yulanda Chadwell. A spokesman for the office also suggested Thursday it “stands behind” its argument that Chadwell shot Henry. Chadwell walked out of court after his acquittal on June 29.
“While we respect the jury’s decision, the Commonwealth stands behind the case we presented at trial, alleging that JC Chadwell shot Paul Henry,” said spokesman Andy McKeever in a statement. “The jury’s decision in the JC Chadwell case has no bearing on the separate case against Yulanda Chadwell.”
According to a report filed by Lt. Glen Decker, who is now retired, when police went to Yulanda Chadwell’s home to interview her on Sept. 4, 2017, a couple months after the fatal shooting, she told investigators, “That’s my brother. I’m not going to say anything about my brother.”
Decker responded that he thought it was “odd” that Yulanda Chadwell mentioned her brother then, because by that point, police had not referenced his name.
Yulanda Chadwell told officers that she and her brother had been in Hudson, N.Y., the night of the shooting, according to the report.
But Decker said two other people disproved the alibi that the Chadwell siblings gave the police. On the stand, Chadwell testified that he had indeed been at block party when the shooting occurred, but claimed that he didn’t shoot Henry.
“After speaking with dozens of people during the course of this investigation, JC Chadwell was the only suspect being named as the shooter,” Decker wrote in his report.
According to Chadwell’s testimony, the shooter was a gang-affiliated weapons supplier who was so feared that neither he nor other potential witnesses were willing to name him to the police.
Yulanda Chadwell’s trial had originally been scheduled to begin in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday. Assistant District Attorney Amy Winston requested a continuance during a hearing Wednesday, and Judge John Agostini ordered her trial pushed to Oct. 31.
Winston said she requested the continuance to receive more time to prepare for trial. She filed an affidavit indicating the DA’s office needs to check on the availability of several civilian and law enforcement witnesses, as well as to obtain a recording of J.C. Chadwell’s testimony from his murder trial.
Yulanda Chadwell’s defense attorney, Joshua Hochberg, indicated that a potential plea recommendation had been discussed with the DA’s office, but suggested that agreement has been scuttled. He said the defense has a strong case, but was nonetheless ready to “mitigate risk” by resolving the case before trial.
“Now the Commonwealth wants multiple years in state prison,” he said, “so I’m shocked.”