Killer’s appeal denied

Was found guilty of murdering 2 people in his Greenfield apartment in 2007

BOSTON — The state Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the conviction of a Greenfield man in a 2007 double-murder.

Robin Anthony Hoose, 50, formerly of 69 Washington St., was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, and given two life sentences in state prison after his 2010 conviction.

In the early hours of July 17, 2007, Hoose repeatedly stabbed Irene Pierce, 45, and Frank Blanchard, 33. The two, who were both homeless, had been staying the night at Hoose’s apartment. They stayed at Hoose’s house while he left with two friends to buy and smoke crack twice.

Hoose sat outside with his friends until they left around 4:30 a.m. Back inside, he found that his ring and watch were missing. He flew into a rage, first knocking Blanchard unconscious, then stabbing Pierce more than 15 times. When Blanchard began to stir, Hoose stabbed him as well.

After the attack, Hoose slashed his own wrists and neck with a box cutter, and was taken to the hospital by his mother.

There, he told Montague Detective Lee Laster that he had killed two people in his apartment, and began to cry. He was released from the hospital and taken into police custody days later.

After being advised of his right to remain silent, and briefly meeting with an attorney, Hoose confessed to the murder in a detailed, written statement.

Hoose appealed his conviction for four reasons. He contended that trial Judge Bertha Josephson had denied his motion to have self-incriminating statements suppressed. He also stated that the judge was wrong in denying his motion for a change of venue. The appeal also argued that Josephson was wrong in her decision not to admit a second knife and expert testimony as evidence.

Hoose asked that his convictions be vacated, or reduced to second-degree murder.

The Supreme Judicial Court upheld Josephson’s decisions. The court ruled that Hoose’s statements were made voluntarily. The denial for a change of venue was upheld, with the court stating that the media coverage of the murders was not extensive or sensational enough to taint an entire jury pool. Of 16 potential jurors, it stated, only two had read articles about the case.

During trial, Hoose’s attorney, William Mazanec, sought to have a knife found in a Chapman Street cellar hole submitted as evidence. He argued that it could have been used by another person to murder the victims. While Josephson denied admitting the actual knife as evidence, she did admit testimony relating to it.

Josephson did not give jurors “third-party culprit” instructions, which would have told them that they must acquit Hoose if they deemed it possible that another person had killed the victims.

This related to the knife, and to a witnesses’ statement that Hoose sold counterfeit drugs to another person earlier in the evening. Hoose’s attorney had argued that person could have committed the murders.

The court upheld Josephson’s decision, noting that the jury instruction that Hoose must be acquitted if there was a reasonable doubt that he committed the murders sufficed.

Josephson ruled that expert testimony regarding false confessions did not fit the standards for admission.

The testimony was provided by Dr. Allison Redlich, who has studied the phenomenon of false confessions. The testimony simply explained that false confessions are sometimes made, but none of it related directly to Hoose, who Redlich did not examine or treat.

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