Murder trial: Starkey takes the stand

  • Lewis Starkey III testifies about how he was wrestling Devin Glover for the shotgun before it discharged, fatally wounding Amanda Glover in their Wendell home, according to his testimony Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Defense Attorney Michael Sheridan, left, asks Lewis Starkey III, right, about the events just prior to the shootings in his Wendell home that left Amanda Glover dead. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Defense Attorney Michael Sheridan holds the shotgun aloft that Lewis Starkey III admitted to firing into a bedroom door to gain access to Devin Glover, who had locked himself inside after his mother Amanda Glover was fatally shot. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Defense Attorney Michael Sheridan holds the bedroom door Lewis Starkey III admitted to firing two shotgun shells at to gain access to Devin Glover, who had locked himself inside after his mother Amanda Glover was fatally shot. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Lewis Starkey III testifies about the events just prior to the shootings in his Wendell home that left Amanda Glover fatally wounded. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/10/2019 8:52:35 PM

GREENFIELD — Lewis H. Starkey III testified before the jury that he did not murder his beloved girlfriend Amanda Glover.

Rather, Starkey said in an emotional and unexpected address Wednesday morning at Franklin Superior Court, it was an accident that ultimately left him in shock, on the run and suicidal — all of which Starkey explained step by step as the final witness called by the defense. 

Starkey offered as fact: Amanda Glover’s adult son Devin Glover, who was living with them, pointed a shotgun at Starkey after hearing a loud argument Starkey was having with his girlfriend of 3½ years on the night of July 4, 2017. Devin Glover fired a round that hit the wall. Starkey then tried to wrestle the gun from his hands, leading to an errant shot fired directly at Amanda Glover. 

“I ran over and said, ‘It’s going to be OK,’” Starkey said. “I saw immediately it wasn’t going to be.” 

Starkey, on trial for Amanda Glover’s murder, sat on the stand before a crowded courtroom, which grew as word spread across the building that Starkey chose to testify.

Choked up, he said of the death, “I was horrified.”

The jury was shown a photo of Amanda Glover dead on the kitchen floor with her shirt torn, taken in the hours after the incident by police. 

Starkey, 55, was not obligated to testify by state law. Potential jurors had been asked during selection if they would have thought any less of the defense’s case if he had not testified, which technically they cannot. Nonetheless, the defense called to the stand their client who is accused of murdering Amanda Glover, 47, and attempting to murder Devin Glover, 27. 

It is the burden of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office to prove to the 16 jurors without a reasonable doubt Starkey committed murder, which carries a potential life sentence. 

Wednesday marked the end of the defense calling its witnesses. Earlier in the week, the prosecution, led by First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne and Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl, concluded its evidence. Jury deliberations for the trial, which can be appealed, are expected to start Thursday. 

The day began with the defense bringing in professionals with Massachusetts State Police who were involved with evidence collection. After breaking for 10 minutes around 10:30 a.m., defense attorney Michael Sheridan called to the stand Starkey, who remained on examination through the rest of the day. 

Sheridan introduced the alleged murder weapon Wednesday, a shotgun, and later the door to Devin Glover’s room. 

Starkey, a 1986 graduate of Turners Falls High School and a student of one year at Greenfield Community College, slowly walked through the events that led up to and after the death of Glover. 

The beginning of his testimony detailed the fallout of his prior relationship with his longtime girlfriend. The “messy breakup” in 2012 led to his distrust of the police, particularly locally, given his ex-girlfriend’s family involvement with the police. The current police chief of Montague, Christopher Williams, was her nephew. 

He said the police community was upset at him because Starkey said publicly that his ex, who died a few years later of cancer, had started drinking heavily and taking pills, which he alleges she acquired in her position as a nurse manager. 

Starkey said he felt the police and others have been following him. He related this concern back to the events leading up to the argument prior to Amanda Glover’s death. It was also the reason he then went to his workplace in Chicopee with the shotgun and took a shot at a glass window where a coworker sat behind. Starkey is not on trial for the Chicopee incident in this court. 

Starkey met Amanda Glover in 1986 at a party in Gill. She was still in high school in Brattleboro. He said they dated for three years on and off, but then parted. In 2013, they connected on Facebook and she first met him again at his West Street home in Wendell. 

He said they had a good relationship of 3½ years and he loved her. They had plans to move into a home in Vermont. The relationship wasn’t perfect though, he said, noting a few times they had gotten into arguments and she left him typically for a day and one time for a month. 

On July 4, 2017, Starkey said it started off as a typical day. He woke up, let the dogs out, made coffee, checked his phone, watched TV and Glover stayed upstairs in the bedroom for a bit. For Independence Day they planned to go swimming about an hour north in Vermont. 

At the swimming spot they found two Vermont state troopers, he said, which “freaked her out” since she knew of his paranoia of police. 

“We were being surveilled,” Starkey said. “We couldn’t go out without a plain clothes officer in a restaurant sitting next to us having a soda.” 

On their way back down from Vermont, Glover wanted to stop at the Big Y in Greenfield, but he said he didn’t want to because of his worry of police, which led to “little argument about it.” They didn’t stop there. When they got back to their home in Wendell, she said she wanted to go get ice cream by herself.

Amanda Glover left and Starkey did some housework before searching online for additions to their Vermont home he wanted them to retire to soon. She put in $63,000 to the home, and he put in the other $10,000 and then was going to fix it up, Starkey said. 

Amanda Glover returned home while Starkey was searching on his computer for a gas grill for the Vermont residence. At around 11:15 p.m. she sent him a text to come to bed. As it approached midnight, Amanda Glover came down and told Starkey she was going to leave and take Devin with her, he said. 

“I said, ‘Stop, stop, stop. I’m just ordering a gas grill,’” Starkey said. “She probably thought I was doing something illicit on my phone or talking to someone else, which I never did. She was a jealous person.” 

 Near midnight, he bought the grill online from Sears. 

“She said, ‘You don’t care about any of this,’ ” Starkey said. “I remember thinking to myself, that’s all I care about. My every waking moment, this is what I do.” 

He recalled upgrading the internet for her so she could more easily work from home, buying new tires for her so she was safer, and a recent vacation. “I took her to Universal Studios. She was a Harry Potter fan,” he said, choking up. 

In the bedroom, the argument later escalated, Starkey said. 

“She said, she was tired of feeling like a criminal,” Starkey said. “She said, ‘I’m not doing anything wrong.’ I said, ‘Amanda, I’m not doing anything wrong either.’” 

“Bulls—t,” she said to him, he recalled. 

This led to the key argument. They began yelling loudly at each other. Starkey said when she tried to leave the bedroom, he grabbed her at the shoulder, something he had never done before, and ripped her shirt. He wanted them to go to bed and sleep on the argument. Instead Amanda Glover went downstairs. He then followed her. 

Devin Glover showed up with shotgun — Starkey claimed — and they wrestled over the gun. Eventually it shot Amanda Glover in the face, killing her. 

Starkey said he seized the shotgun from Devin Glover, who ran to his room and locked the door behind him.

“He had just pointed a gun at me and shot his mother,” Starkey said on why he confronted him. “We wrestled with the gun and it went off.” 

Starkey said he took two shots at the doorknob to unlock it; Sheridan showed the door to the jury, which only was damaged at the doorknob. Starkey said he punched Devin Glover in the face as he ran by him, but did not intend to kill him. 

Starkey testified he went back to the kitchen and checked Amanda Glover’s pulse.

He was asked by his attorney why he didn’t call 911.

“There was no applying pressure,” Starkey said. “She was dead. She was on the floor. She was dead.” 

In a state of shock, Starkey said he then took his gun and went to his workplace in Chicopee. He grabbed additional shells for his shotgun, too. 

“I figured I’d probably end my own life because of what I had just witnessed,” Starkey said. 

He claimed his workplace had been stalking his every text on his phone with a software system they installed. His goal, he said, was to destroy the software housed at his workplace, a trucking company. In doing so, he shot toward a co-worker, but said it was intended to scare him and send him to the exit. 

Starkey explained he had “snapped” after Amanda Glover’s death. 

After losing his gun in a wrestle with the co-worker, Starkey drove toward home. 

He first went to the boat ramp at Lake Wyola in nearby Shutsebury. He stayed there until just before dawn.

He then went over Northfield Mountain and toward the high-tension lines. In these two locations he wrote suicide notes after drinking a large bottle of Meyer’s Rum. He also took several pills, but they put him to sleep. 

“I intended on not surviving this,” Starkey said. 

On the fourth day of being at-large, which he said he had heard about on the radio, Starkey returned to his Wendell home.

He took a shower, changed. He also grabbed sharp objects to kill himself. He was then caught on his way back to the woods, before he was going to commit suicide, he said. Starkey said his father, who lived with him for several years, had attempted suicide several times, and at this time he felt the “demons” of his father. 

Sheridan showed a selfie of Starkey and Amanda Glover to the jury. The photo had been in his locker at work and he said was the lone photo of them together. 

“Did you love Amanda Glover?” Sheridan asked.

“I did,” Starkey said. 

“Did you murder Amanda Glover?” Sheridan said. 

“I did not,” Starkey said. 

“Did you shoot her?” Sheridan said. 

“Ultimately, it went off,” Starkey said. “It was my gun … and I was trying to get it out (Devin’s) hands.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264




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