Chiero trial to move ahead; Judge rules jury to hear charges.Byline: Gary V. Murray
WORCESTER - A judge has let a murder charge stand against a mentally ill Uxbridge man accused of stabbing his mother to death last year.
In a ruling issued Thursday, Superior Court Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. denied a motion filed by Lee F. Chiero's lawyer seeking dismissal of the murder charge pending against Mr. Chiero in the Jan. 15, 2007, stabbing death of 59-year-old Nancy S. Chiero.
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The insanity defense is used by criminal defendants. in the case, also sought dismissal of the murder charge on grounds the grand jury's integrity was impaired by the presentation of "misleading" evidence.
Assistant District Attorney Eduardo O. Velazquez disputed the defense claims and asked the motion be denied.
"This is a most tragic case in which the defendant, Lee Chiero, an individual with a documented history of severe mental health problems, stands indicted for the murder of his own mother, who tried to help her son deal with and obtain treatment for his problems," Judge Agnes said in the introductory paragraph of his seven-page decision.
The judge went on to say the prosecution had no obligation to provide the grand jury with evidence related to Mr. Chiero's mental state at the time of the killing or to present a mental health evaluation suggesting Mr. Chiero lacked criminal responsibility for his alleged actions.
"It makes no sense to say that the determination of whether the defendant was or was not criminally responsible for his conduct should be left up to the grand jury because they are not authorized to make any decision other than `true bill' or `no bill,' and thus they are not authorized nor are they equipped to make a judgment about whether someone should be deemed not guilty by reason of insanity not guilty by reason of insanity n. plea in court of a person charged with a crime who admits the criminal act, but whose attorney claims he/she was so mentally disturbed at the time of the crime that he/she lacked the capacity to have intended to commit a crime. ," Judge Agnes wrote.
Such decisions, the judge said, are left to a judge or jury as a trier of fact trier of fact n. the judge or jury responsible for deciding factual issues in a trial. If there is no jury the judge is the trier of fact as well as the trier of the law. after trial.
Mr. Chiero, 36, allegedly stabbed his mother to death in the home they shared at 17 No Way, Uxbridge. Mr. Halpern contends Mr. Chiero, who had moved back into the home several days earlier, was suffering from a "delusional de·lu·sion
a. The act or process of deluding.
b. The state of being deluded.
2. A false belief or opinion: labored under the delusion that success was at hand. and paranoid disorder" at the time of the killing and saw his mother as part of a conspiracy against him.
Believing he was under surveillance, Mr. Chiero "began videotaping himself in the basement for hours, day after day, recording telephone calls, television, chat lines, conversations with his mother and talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to himself," Mr. Halpern said in his motion.
Investigators recovered more than two dozen videotapes made by Mr. Chiero, including one apparently recorded just before Mrs. Chiero was killed. She died as a result of multiple stab wounds to her head and face.
Mr. Halpern maintained state police Detective John Boland John Boland may refer to:
"Based on the evidence before me, the Trooper's testimony was an accurate statement. The witness did not paint a distorted or misleading picture of the evidence ... It is not the responsibility of a witness to assess and opine on the legal significance of the evidence, but rather to testify truthfully about what he knows," Judge Agnes said in his ruling.
Three psychiatrists, including one hired by the prosecution, have evaluated Mr. Chiero and determined he lacked criminal responsibility for his alleged conduct at the time of the slaying because of his mental illness.
Citing case law, Judge Agnes noted a jury need not accept "uncontradicted expert testimony Testimony about a scientific, technical, or professional issue given by a person qualified to testify because of familiarity with the subject or special training in the field. " that a defendant was insane at the time of a crime and may infer sanity Reasonable understanding; sound mind; possessing mental faculties that are capable of distinguishing right from wrong so as to bear legal responsibility for one's actions.
SANITY, med. jur. The state of a person who has a sound understanding; the reverse of insanity. from the underlying facts of a case and the suspect's actions.
Depending upon how a finder of fact fact finder (finder of fact) n. in a trial of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution, the jury or judge (if there is no jury) who decides if facts have been proven. viewed the evidence in Mr. Chiero's case, he could either be found guilty of murder or not guilty by reason of mental illness after trial, Judge Agnes said in his decision.
Mr. Halpern's motion asked the court, in effect, to "usurp u·surp
v. u·surped, u·surp·ing, u·surps
1. To seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force and without legal authority. See Synonyms at appropriate.
2. the authority of the trial jury and order that this decision be made by a grand jury," the judge wrote.
Mr. Chiero is being held without bail at Bridgewater State Hospital. His case is scheduled for trial May 27.
NOTE: 2007 INCIDENT