Jury selection begins in Lewis Starkey III murder trial

  • STARKEY STARKEY

Staff Writer
Published: 4/1/2019 10:45:38 PM

GREENFIELD — The prosecution often returned to the same question when interviewing potential jurors for the case of a man who allegedly killed his girlfriend and shot at two others in 2017.

“Do you feel DNA is essential?” Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office said.

Lewis H. Starkey III is accused of murdering Amanda Glover after an argument July 5, 2017 at their home at 179 West St., Wendell. He then allegedly turned his shotgun on Amanda Glover’s adult son, Devin Glover, who is autistic, firing at him. Devin Glover was able to escape into the woods, where he called police. The 55-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

On Monday a few themes evolved from the first of likely two days of jury selection to pick 14 to 16 people. By the end of the day, a handful had been chosen from a pool of about 60.

The trial, held in Franklin County Superior Court, is expected to begin Monday and continue next week. 

The prosecution focused on whether possible jurors could be convinced of a murder potentially without DNA evidence but with an eyewitness. 

Other concerns surfaced among the commonwealth and the defense, such as trust in police officers’ testimony, exposure to media coverage and any thoughts on whether people who have autism are any less trustworthy than anyone else. Issues of prejudice toward gun owners and uneasiness toward graphic images of the person who died were also discussed with potential jurors. 

Judge John Agostini, presiding over the case, emphasized to the lot of possible jurors Monday morning the importance of being able to provide a decision with fairness and purely on the facts presented in the case. 

“As you can imagine, this is a very important case,” Agostini said. “We want to take particular care in impaneling a jury.” 

Alongside Suhl, First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne are representing the state, which has the burden to prove the murder. The defense is led by attorney Michael Sheridan. 

The defense previously filed a motion to change the venue of the trial. Agostini has said he wants to wait to see if the court can successfully impanel enough jurors before deciding if the Greenfield venue is appropriate.

The defense has stated it will not challenge the cause of Amanda Glover’s death, which prosecutors say was by a close-range shotgun fire to the face.

DNA evidence is expected to be presented at the trial; Starkey was ordered to submit to a buccal swab (from inside his mouth) in December. 

Suhl and Gagne asked several potential jurors Monday about their views on whether DNA evidence is necessary to prove a murder. 

“The question is targeted to ask you if it’s necessary,” Suhl said. “Do you feel like the case can be proven with other evidence?”

Additional evidence expected includes: a shotgun found in Chicopee, alleged to be the murder weapon; notes written by Amanda Glover prior to her death; and photographs of the crime scene, gunshot wounds and autopsy.

Witnesses are expected to include police officers, crime lab workers and members of Amanda Glover’s family, including Devin Glover, who the prosecution claims is a witness to his mother’s death.

Prior to interviewing jurors one-on-one, Agostini reiterated the facts in the case and introduced the lawyers to the room full of potential jurors.

Sherridan, after introducing himself, motioned to the man he represents. 

“This is Lewis Starkey, ladies and gentlemen,” Sherridan said.

Starkey, clean-shaven and sporting a light-blue collared shirt, stood up, turned around and faced the packed room.

Among people selected for the jury pool Monday was a special education teacher, who said she has worked with children on all ends of the spectrum of autism.

Both sides had the option of dismissing her as a juror. 

After allegedly killing Amanda Glover and shooting at Devin Glover in 2017, prosecutors say Starkey then drove Amanda Glover’s car more than an hour to his Chicopee place of work, Specialized Trucking. He then allegedly fired his shotgun at an employee there, injuring the man with flying broken glass before the weapon was wrestled away from him.

Starkey then allegedly fled, and was wanted by police for five days before being pulled over in Orange by Orange Police Sgt. James Sullivan, now that town’s acting police chief.

According to Sullivan, when he approached the vehicle, Starkey told him, “You got the prize.”

If convicted, Starkey could face life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, the maximum criminal penalty allowed under Massachusetts law.

Some potential jurors expressed their unease with the facts as presented about the alleged murder. 

“We understand the charge is concerning,” Sherridan said, “but we need to evaluate on evidence.” 

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264




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