Former fugitive charged with rape in Deerfield case demands new lawyer

  • Jeffrey Cancel-Muniz, 42, stands next to his attorney, Thomas Glynn, during a motion hearing in Franklin County Superior Court in June. Cancel-Muniz, a Level 3 sex offender apprehended in Florida in April 2021, a month after being added to the Massachusetts State Police’s list of most-wanted fugitives, was back in court on Friday afternoon. He also demanded a new attorney. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 8/5/2022 3:48:02 PM
Modified: 8/5/2022 3:44:55 PM

GREENFIELD — A Level 3 sex offender apprehended in Florida in April 2021, a month after being added to the Massachusetts State Police’s list of most-wanted fugitives, demanded a new attorney following motion hearing on Friday. 

Jeffrey Cancel-Muniz, 42, formerly of western Massachusetts, appeared in Franklin County Superior Court and was the only party involved with his case who was physically present in the room. Judge Karen Goodwin appeared via Zoom, as did Assistant District Attorney Sandra Staub and defense attorney Thomas Glynn. The hearing concluded with Goodwin and the two attorneys agreeing to schedule a status conference for Aug. 26.

“I want my lawyer to withdraw from my case,” Cancel-Muniz said as court officers led him away before the Zoom feed ended.

He was last in court for a motion hearing in June, when Judge Mark Mason decided two witnesses in the case would not have to testify at trial. Mason spoke with both individuals, who invoked their Fifth Amendment privileges to not incriminate themselves on the stand. One of the individuals is the complaining witness against Cancel-Muniz, who faces charges of strangulation or suffocation, kidnapping, rape and aggravated rape as a result of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred in Deerfield in May 2020.

On Friday, however, Staub reported one of the witnesses is willing to waive Fifth Amendment privileges. Glynn said this was the first time he was hearing this. Goodwin asked Glynn if he would be ready to go to trial earlier than the planned November date; he replied that he would have to check his schedule.

Glynn also mentioned he had not received an unredacted transcript of an audio interview a Deerfield Police detective conducted with an informant at the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction in Greenfield. Staub explained to Glynn and Goodwin she gave the transcript to Isaac Mass, Cancel-Muniz’s previous attorney, and “I will make sure that you have that as well, counsel.”

Cancel-Muniz was arrested in Florida in April 2021 after a hotel clerk had an issue with him, searched his name online and saw his face on a poster the State Police’s Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section had released to news media outlets. Deputies with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Travelodge Suites by Wyndham Kissimmee Orange after the lodging facility notified them that Cancel-Muniz was a guest there, according to a statement from Massachusetts State Police spokesperson David Procopio at the time. Deputies verified the warrants against Cancel-Muniz and arrested him as a fugitive from justice.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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