Appeal denied in D’Amour murder case

Alex M. Rankins filed a motion in January appealing his first-degree murder conviction in connection with the death of D’Amour, 55, a South Hadley dentist and son of the Big Y supermarket founder.

Rankins’ motion to appeal his conviction was denied last week by Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder.

Rankins alleged he had “incompetent” legal representation, and that his legal fees were paid by his co-defendant, Suzanne D’Amour, the dentist’s wife, with whom Rankins had been having an affair.

Suzanne D’Amour was later acquitted of what prosecutors alleged was masterminding a murder-for-hire scheme, but convicted of perjury charges alleging that she lied to the grand jury hearing facts about her husband’s slaying. D’Amour served five years of a 10- to 12-year prison sentence and was released in 2002.

Rankins’ appeal also alleged Suzanne D’Amour and her lawyer kept information from him that was later used to successfully gain an acquittal in her murder trial.

In his decision to deny the appeal, Kinder wrote he was not persuaded by Rankins’ “bold and novel proposition,” that his co-defendant’s later acquittal can be retroactively applied to his conviction.

Kinder also ruled that Rankins’ claim of incompetent representation lacked factual basis.

Rankins was represented in his 14-day trial by Northampton lawyer David Hoose and Springfield lawyer Scott Skolnick.

“There is no reason to believe that justice was not done in this case,” Kinder wrote.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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