Capeless returns to fight appeal of triple murder conviction
BOSTON — Reprising his role as Berkshire district attorney, David F. Capeless on Friday mounted a vigorous defense of the 2014 conviction of Adam Lee Hall in the brutal murder of three Pittsfield men.
During arguments in Supreme Judicial Court, Capeless pushed back against Hall's allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
"The defendant's basis (for the claims) is taking certain statements or factual situations wholly out of context and asking the court to look at them that way," Capeless said after Friday morning's hearing.
"The proper way for any court to consider these kinds of issues is in the context of the entire trial," he said. "And in that context, these were not misconduct."
The state's highest court is deciding whether to grant a new trial for Hall, one of the three defendants convicted in the murder of three Berkshire County men in August 2011.
Former Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless prosecuted the cases of Hall and his co-defendants, David Chalue and Caius Veiovis, and is volunteering his time as special prosecutor in the appeal of those cases.
Hall, Chalue and Veiovis are all serving life sentences without parole after being convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the deaths of David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell.
In briefs filed with the court, Hall's appellate attorney, Jim Rosseel, said prosecutors misrepresented witness testimony during the initial trial.
In one alleged instance, Capeless overstated the accuracy of the ability to use phone data to pinpoint Hall's location and, in closing arguments, ignored testimony about the limits of that technology.
In another, prosecutors are accused of affirming in their closing argument that a witness testified she heard Hall refer to making someone watch the murders, when that testimony was not elicited during trial.
Rosseel said examining the potential errors in Hall's trial and bringing them before the SJC is a matter of ensuring due process.
"Every single one of us is entitled to the full panoply of protections available, and you're innocent until proven guilty," Rosseel said.
"If there are errors made in the court below, which we allege there were, we've got here in Massachusetts a system to police those mistakes and that protects all of us," he said.
"This is the way it works, no matter how unpopular the defendant is," Rosseel said.
In response to the allegations of misconduct, Capeless said, "They're accusations alone."
He noted during the hearing that he was not asked by the five-justice panel to address the accusations laid out in the defendant's briefs.
When he announced his retirement in March 2018, Capeless touted the convictions of the three men among his accomplishments, "despite no identified crime scene or weapons or any forensic evidence directly linking the defendants to the brutal crimes," according to a statement released at the time.
Veiovis' appeal for a new trial was denied by the SJC in 2017. Chalue's appeal of his conviction is still open.
Hall, Chalue and Veiovis were convicted of killing the three men after abducting them from Glasser's apartment on Aug. 27, 2011.
Glasser was due to testify against Hall in two criminal cases: One involved Hall allegedly assaulting Glasser with a baseball bat in a dispute over engine parts that Hall believed were stolen, and another case in which Hall tried to frame Glasser for the kidnapping of a woman.
Frampton and Chadwell were not initially targeted but happened to be in Glasser's apartment at the time and taken along with Glasser to ensure their silence.
The men were killed and dismembered, and their remains buried on a property in Becket.
Capeless said he was committed to seeing all three cases through to the end and "to see that justice is served."
"I feel an obligation to the memory of the victims and to their families," he said, noting the work done on the appellate case by Special Assistant District Attorney Joseph Pieropan, who worked in Capeless' administration.
There was no indication from the SJC when it will render its decision.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
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