Commonwealth v. Veiovis, SJC-12017

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtGANTS, C.J.
Citation477 Mass. 472,78 N.E.3d 757
Decision Date19 July 2017
Docket NumberSJC-12017
Parties COMMONWEALTH v. Caius VEIOVIS.

477 Mass. 472
78 N.E.3d 757

COMMONWEALTH
v.
Caius VEIOVIS.

SJC-12017

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Berkshire..

Argued November 10, 2016.
Decided July 19, 2017.


Dana Alan Curhan, Boston, (Christie L. Nader also present) for the defendant.

David F. Capeless, District Attorney for the Berkshire District, for the Commonwealth.

Present: Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, & Lowy, JJ.

GANTS, C.J.

477 Mass. 473

The defendant was found guilty by a Superior Court jury on three indictments charging murder in the first degree on the theory of deliberate premeditation for the grisly killing of David Glasser, Edward Frampton, and Robert Chadwell.1 The Commonwealth's theory of the case was that the defendant participated in these killings with Adam Lee Hall and David Chalue to prevent Glasser from testifying against Hall in two criminal cases. They kidnapped Frampton, who was Glasser's roommate, and Chadwell, who was Glasser's neighbor, simply because Frampton and Chadwell had the misfortune of being in Glasser's apartment when they entered to kidnap and later kill Glasser, and then killed Frampton and Chadwell to ensure their silence regarding the kidnapping and killing of Glasser. After the three victims were killed, the defendant, Hall, and Chalue dismembered their bodies and placed the body parts in plastic bags, and Hall arranged for the burial of the plastic bags.2

The defendant presents four primary claims on appeal: (1) that the evidence of his knowing participation in these crimes was insufficient as a matter of law to support his convictions; (2) that the judge abused his discretion in admitting evidence of other acts

477 Mass. 474

the probative value of which was outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice; (3) that the judge abused his discretion in admitting in evidence a statement

78 N.E.3d 762

by the defendant regarding the scars on his right arm; and (4) that the prosecutor presented facts in closing argument that were not supported by the evidence at trial. We affirm the convictions and conclude that the defendant is not entitled to relief under G.L.c. 278, § 33E.

Background . Because the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence at trial, "we recite the evidence in the Commonwealth's case-in-chief ... in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth." Commonwealth v. Penn , 472 Mass. 610, 611-612, 36 N.E.3d 552 (2015), cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 136 S.Ct. 1656, 194 L.Ed.2d 773 (2016). We focus primarily on the evidence implicating the defendant in the joint venture, because the defendant does not dispute that there was abundant evidence that Hall and Chalue participated in the killings.

The circumstances leading up to the killings began in July, 2009, when Hall beat Glasser with a baseball bat because he believed that Glasser had stolen and sold motor vehicle parts that belonged to Hall. While Glasser was being interviewed by a State police trooper two days later, Hall threatened Glasser in a telephone call. The State police arrested Hall that day and recovered a baseball bat from Hall's vehicle.

In July, 2010, while the charge against Hall of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon was pending, Hall concocted a scheme to discredit Glasser by framing him on a false kidnapping charge. As part of this scheme, a friend of Hall, Nicole Brooks, falsely reported to the police that Glasser kidnapped her and shot at her when she escaped; another friend of Hall, Scott Langdon, planted Brooks's wallet and a revolver in Glasser's truck, where they were found by police during a search of the truck. The scheme resulted in Glasser's arrest, but the police soon exonerated Glasser and brought criminal charges against Hall and those who participated with him in the scheme.

The defendant began spending time with Hall and Chalue in the latter half of August, 2011. Hall was a "sergeant [at] arms" in a local chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club and was described as an "enforcer." The defendant was not a member of the Hells Angels, but there was evidence that he wanted to be. He began to wear a vest with a Hells Angels insignia on the front and kept a Hells Angels sticker in his Jeep and apartment. Hall told a witness in the defendant's presence of the possibility that the

477 Mass. 475

defendant would get a motorcycle and become a prospective member of the Hells Angels. The defendant's employer told the police that the defendant had wanted to establish credit because he wanted to buy a motorcycle and that "you cannot be in the Hells Angels without buying the motorcycle."

The time line of events before and after the killings is important in evaluating the weight of the evidence implicating the defendant as a participant in the killings. On Friday, August 26, 2011, Hall picked up a friend, Katelyn Carmin, in the tan Buick vehicle3 he had purchased earlier that month; the defendant and Chalue were with him. While driving around to various bars, Hall went into a tirade about a person he called "Drummer Dave,"4 who he said had robbed him and then "snitched" on him. Hall said he was "going to kill that motherfucker." The defendant, along with

78 N.E.3d 763

Chalue, responded to Hall by assuring him that Hall will "get him." Later that evening, they drove to the Hells Angels clubhouse in Lee, where they rode in an all-terrain vehicle. Hall told Carmin to be careful because he needed the defendant and Chalue for "a job."

On Saturday, Hall was seen outside the building where the defendant's girl friend resided, talking to the defendant while sitting in the girl friend's pickup truck. In the early afternoon, Hall, Chalue, and the defendant went to a party held by the Springfield chapter of the Hells Angels at a tavern in Springfield; Hall and the defendant left the party together early in the afternoon and returned at approximately 4:30 P.M. Hall, Chalue, and the defendant left the tavern together at approximately 6:30 P.M. , and drove away in Hall's Buick. Later that evening, Hall, Chalue, and the defendant were at the Hells Angels clubhouse in Lee; they left later to go to the defendant's house in Pittsfield. Hall drove to the defendant's home in his own vehicle but first stopped at Steven Hinman's home in Lenox. Hall showed Hinman a .45 semiautomatic pistol that he had in his vest, as well as a "dog food bag" that contained a .44 Magnum revolver, a sawed-off AR-15-type weapon, and a small revolver.

The defendant and Chalue traveled to the defendant's home with two women, Allyson Scace and Kayla Sewall, in Sewall's vehicle after stopping at a liquor store. When Hall arrived at the

477 Mass. 476

defendant's home, he pulled the firearms out of the dog food bag and asked the defendant where he kept brake cleaner and gloves. The defendant directed him to a cabinet and went upstairs with Sewall. While they were upstairs, Hall and Chalue disassembled and cleaned the firearms. The defendant asked Sewall to stay, but she declined and left with Scace at approximately 9 P.M. , leaving Hall, Chalue, and the defendant alone in the apartment.

The kidnapping of the three victims in Glasser's apartment in Pittsfield occurred shortly before midnight that Saturday or early Sunday morning. Glasser's upstairs neighbor asked Glasser to move his truck at approximately 10:30 P.M. that Saturday, and saw the three victims (and a fourth man) in the kitchen of Glasser's apartment at that time. The last telephone call made from Chadwell's cellular telephone was at 11:21 P.M. Shortly after midnight, the upstairs neighbor heard banging from the front downstairs hallway, and heard the voices of Glasser and Frampton, as well as some unfamiliar voices. Hall later told a friend, Rose Dawson, that, when they arrived at Glasser's apartment, one of the victims was using a computer and another was playing a video game.

The defendant's girl friend had returned from a hiking trip on Friday night and was at her home on Saturday night. She made a telephone call to the defendant's cellular telephone at 12:09 A.M. on Sunday, but the defendant did not answer and she left a voicemail message. She sent him a text message on his cellular telephone at 1:20 A.M. , but received no reply. She telephoned him again at 1:40 A.M. , and again left a voicemail message after the call was not answered.

At approximately 1:30 A.M. on Sunday, Hall appeared at Dawson's home in Pittsfield. He asked to borrow Dawson's cellular telephone, which she gave to him; he said he would be back soon. He entered the passenger seat of a vehicle described as a Jeep Wrangler5 and left; the defendant owned a Jeep Wrangler.

78 N.E.3d 764

Hall was next seen at a convenience store in Pittsfield at approximately 5:30 A.M. , where he purchased three candy bars and a pack of cigarettes. Hall returned a few minutes later and purchased a pack of Black and Mild cigars. The police seized the

477 Mass. 477

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26 practice notes
  • Commonwealth v. Wardsworth, SJC-11125
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 19, 2019
    ...to commit the crime charged, such evidence may be admitted for another purpose, such as to establish motive. See Commonwealth v. Veiovis, 477 Mass. 472, 481-482, 78 N.E.3d 757 (2017). Where evidence is offered for a nonpropensity purpose, as here, it is admissible if the prejudicial effect ......
  • Commonwealth v. Chalue, SJC-12457
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 23, 2021
    ...of murder in the first degree. See Commonwealth v. Hall, 485 Mass. 145, 171, 147 N.E.3d 1078 (2020) ; Commonwealth v. Veiovis, 477 Mass. 472, 490, 78 N.E.3d 757 (2017).2 On appeal, the defendant claims reversible error by the trial judge for (1) giving a charge in accordance with Commonweal......
  • Commonwealth v. Peno, SJC-12464
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 10, 2020
    ...that the jury would have inferred from this evidence a propensity to commit 485 Mass. 390 murder. Compare Commonwealth v. Veiovis, 477 Mass. 472, 486, 78 N.E.3d 757 (2017) (abuse of discretion to allow evidence that defendant possessed spiked baseball bat, where weapon could not have been u......
  • Commonwealth v. Mason, SJC-09070
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 25, 2020
    ...failure to provide one did not result in a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage 485 Mass. 539 of justice. See Commonwealth v. Veiovis, 477 Mass. 472, 486-487, 78 N.E.3d 757 (2017). The questioning regarding the mapping website comparison was not extensive; the map produced by the crimina......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Commonwealth v. Wardsworth, SJC-11125
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 19, 2019
    ...to commit the crime charged, such evidence may be admitted for another purpose, such as to establish motive. See Commonwealth v. Veiovis, 477 Mass. 472, 481-482, 78 N.E.3d 757 (2017). Where evidence is offered for a nonpropensity purpose, as here, it is admissible if the prejudicial effect ......
  • Commonwealth v. Chalue, SJC-12457
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 23, 2021
    ...of murder in the first degree. See Commonwealth v. Hall, 485 Mass. 145, 171, 147 N.E.3d 1078 (2020) ; Commonwealth v. Veiovis, 477 Mass. 472, 490, 78 N.E.3d 757 (2017).2 On appeal, the defendant claims reversible error by the trial judge for (1) giving a charge in accordance with Commonweal......
  • Commonwealth v. Peno, SJC-12464
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 10, 2020
    ...that the jury would have inferred from this evidence a propensity to commit 485 Mass. 390 murder. Compare Commonwealth v. Veiovis, 477 Mass. 472, 486, 78 N.E.3d 757 (2017) (abuse of discretion to allow evidence that defendant possessed spiked baseball bat, where weapon could not have been u......
  • Commonwealth v. Mason, SJC-09070
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 25, 2020
    ...failure to provide one did not result in a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage 485 Mass. 539 of justice. See Commonwealth v. Veiovis, 477 Mass. 472, 486-487, 78 N.E.3d 757 (2017). The questioning regarding the mapping website comparison was not extensive; the map produced by the crimina......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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