Scesny charged in 1996 rape and murder; Indictments unsealed after jury acquits suspect of rape in '07 case.
WORCESTER - Hours after being acquitted yesterday of charges of raping and trying to murder one woman, Alex F. Scesny was formally charged with the rape and murder of another.
Mr. Scesny, 39, formerly of Berlin, was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court on secret indictments charging him with murder and aggravated rape in the Oct. 24, 1996, strangulation death of Theresa K. Stone in Fitchburg. About three hours earlier in the same courtroom, a jury had found Mr. Scesny not guilty of charges of rape, assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon arising from allegations that he sexually assaulted another woman and tried to smother her with a pillow on March 17, 2007, at the Reservoir Motor Lodge on Route 12 in West Boylston.
The jurors, who deliberated for more than 15 hours over three days, found Mr. Scesny guilty of assault and battery. Judge Bruce R. Henry sentenced him to 18 months in the House of Correction with credit for time served awaiting trial.
Assistant District Attorney Anthony J. Marotta had recommended a 2-1/2-year jail term, the maximum sentence for assault and battery, and Mr. Scesny's lawyer, Michael S. Hussey, asked the judge to impose a sentence of 9 months in the House of Correction.
Mr. Scesny, identified by law enforcement officials earlier this year as a "person of interest" in the slayings of several area women, was then arraigned on secret indictments charging him with raping and murdering Ms. Stone. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered held without bail without prejudice, which will allow Mr. Hussey to seek a bail hearing at a later date.
Judge Henry continued the case to Oct. 21.
The partially clad, bruised and bloodied body of the 39-year-old Ms. Stone was discovered by a passer-by on Kinsman Road in Fitchburg. An autopsy determined that she was strangled.
Mr. Scesny's DNA profile was found to match a genetic profile derived from
swabs collected at the time of Ms. Stone's autopsy, according to prosecutors. The match between DNA evidence from the alleged rape in West Boylston and the 1996 slaying of Ms. Stone was first discovered in April after genetic profiles from both cases were entered into the Combined DNA Index System.
Further testing then confirmed that Mr. Scesny was the source of the seminal fluid recovered from bed linens from the West Boylston motel, according to prosecutors.
In late April, Mr. Scesny was ordered by a judge to provide prosecutors with another sample of his DNA for comparison with forensic evidence from the
swabs taken at the time of Ms. Stone's autopsy.
District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. has also labeled Mr. Scesny a person of interest in the unsolved slayings of five prostitutes with ties to the Main South section of the city. He has not been charged in any of those killings.
Mr. Scesny's 40-year-old brother, Joseph Scesny, is serving a life sentence in Georgia after being convicted of sexual and aggravated assaults in 1989.
Timothy J. Connolly, spokesman for the district attorney, said the
indictments returned Sept. 12 by a grand jury were kept sealed until yesterday to avoid tainting the jury pool for Mr. Scesny's rape trial.
Mr. Scesny's brother Kenneth Scesny, who attended the seven-day trial, declined to comment yesterday after the verdicts were announced. He did not return to court for his younger brother's sentencing or arraignment.
"Naturally, we are disappointed he was not convicted on all four charges, but we respect the jury's decision in these matters," Mr. Early said.
"It is obvious from their review of the evidence for over five days that the jury gave this matter the attention it deserved. We respect that."
He said, "We'll let the facts in the murder case, as presented by Deputy First Assistant District Attorney Bill (William T.) Walsh (Jr.), speak for themselves."
CUTLINE: Alex F. Scesny in Worcester Superior Court
PHOTOG: T&G Staff/CHRIS CHRISTO
NOTE: 1996 INCIDENT
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Sep 24, 2008|
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