SJC affirms ex-Peru resident's convictions in 2011 killings, dismemberings
PITTSFIELD — The state’s top court Friday upheld first-degree murder convictions against a former Peru man, six years after a jury found him guilty of participating in the killing and dismembering of three people in a crime that shocked Berkshire County nearly a decade ago.
The Supreme Judicial Court denied a new trial for Adam Lee Hall, though the justices reversed Hall’s conviction for kidnapping. That will have no impact on Hall's punishment, since he is serving three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
"The facts and the law were on our side and we prevailed," said David F. Capeless, the former Berkshire district attorney who led the prosecution of Hall and two other men and who volunteered to represent the commonwealth in Hall's automatic appeal.
"Clearly, this was one of the most heinous set of events that we had to deal with," Capeless said of the killings and his time in office, "and a devastating situation for family and friends of the victims."
The SJC decision, which follows arguments in January, turned back most of the legal argument advanced on appeal by Hall’s attorney, James W. Rosseel.
Hall and two other men, David Chalue, of North Adams, and Caius Veiovis, of Pittsfield, were convicted in separate trials of killing David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell on a Saturday night in late August 2011, as Tropical Storm Irene battered the Northeast.
Glasser had been scheduled to testify in a trial against Hall, in a case in which Hall had beaten him with a bat, and told others that he feared for his safety. Hall had a long criminal history and had been sergeant-at-arms for the Hell's Angels motorcycle club in Lee.
According to court papers, Hall had orchestrated a failed attempt to frame Glasser for an abduction and also had tried to bribe him with $3,000 not to testify. Hall had told companions, "I ought to kill that [expletive] for ruining my life."
Glasser and Frampton — both of them were clients of mental health and human services agencies — disappeared from the home they shared Aug. 27, 2011, along with Chadwell, a friend who had been visiting. Hall later told a friend that Glasser had begged for his life.
Pieces of their bodies, stuffed into plastic bags in the trunk of Hall's Buick sedan, were found weeks later, buried in Becket. Capeless said that due in part to the storm's rains, the site of the killings never was pinpointed.
The court already has upheld Veiovis’ conviction for the murders. Arguments in the appeal by Chalue were scheduled to be heard in March but were postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, Capeless said. He anticipates that Chalue's appeal will be heard early this fall.
Capeless is taking no payment for his role as a special assistant district attorney. He said he feels a personal obligation to the victims' families to see the cases through their appeals. Friday's decision, he said, bodes well for efforts to uphold Chalue's conviction as well.
Larry Parnass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-588-8341.
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