Lewis Starkey III found guilty of first degree murder

  • Lewis Starkey III testifies Wednesday in Franklin Superior Court. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/11/2019 5:28:52 PM

GREENFIELD — Lewis H. Starkey III will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, having been convicted of murder in the first degree Thursday. 

The 11 men and five women on the jury took less than four hours to deliberate before convicting Starkey, 55, of murdering his girlfriend, Amanda Glover, 47, and attempting to murder her son, Devin Glover, 27, at Wendell home in 2017. 

Unless the conviction is overturned on appeal, Starkey faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, the maximum criminal penalty allowed under Massachusetts law.

Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 16, at 9 a.m.

Starkey’s defense, that Amanda Glover was accidently shot in the face after he and Devin Glover wrestled over a loaded shotgun, was not bought by the jury, who heard closing arguments in the Franklin Superior Court trial Thursday morning. 

“The facts themselves show Mr. Starkey’s innocence,” said defense attorney Michael Sheridan.

But the jury thought otherwise, and sided with the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office claims that Starkey’s behavior following Amanda Glover’s death, including fleeing the scene and writing notes with statements like, “Why did I do it,” were evidence of a murder. 

In her closing statements to the jury, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl described the night of July 4, 2017, leading into the early morning hours of July 5. Starkey, she said, became upset with Amanda Glover during an argument in their bedroom where she told him their relationship was ending.

Suhl said Starkey, who had been working on a vacation home in Vermont with Glover, murdered her after Glover said she would be moving to the Vermont home with her son, Devin Glover, leaving Starkey. Starkey became so mad he would not allow Amanda Glover to leave the room, grabbing her shirt and ripping it when she tried to exit. 

Amanda Glover eventually fled downstairs where Devin Glover, having heard the argument and seeing his mother’s torn clothes, confronted Starkey to protect his mother. Starkey responded by going into the home basement, returning with his 12 gauge shotgun, and shooting Amanda Glover at close range, Suhl said. Starkey couldn’t bear the decision Amanda Glover had made, Suhl added. 

“He made a different decision for her, that she was not going anywhere,” Suhl said. 

The story was supported with emotional testimony Monday from Devin Glover, who was able to flee the home into the surrounding woods and call the police. Starkey had shot at Devin Glover’s bedroom door where Devin Glover was hiding behind before he was able to escape the 179 West St. home. 

“You have Devin’s story, and you have the defendant’s story, and I would tell you that Devin’s is the one that’s credible,” Suhl said. 

When Starkey took the stand on Wednesday, as the last witness on the last day of testimony, he attempted to explain away behavior like not calling 911 to report an “accident,” by wanting to confront Devin Glover, and adding that it would have taken police 35 minutes to get to his home in Wendell anyway. He could not adequately explain why he was on the run from police for five days, and why, when finally arrested in Orange driving Amanda Glover’s car, he told Orange Police Sgt. James Sullivan — now Orange’s acting police chief — “You got the prize.”

“This is a case built brick by brick, piece by piece, into a wall, a wall of evidence that leads to one conclusion,” Suhl said. 

Other pieces of evidence, like Starkey driving to his place of work, Specialized Carriers in Chicopee, and firing at a coworker while on the run, and handwritten notes written by Starkey stating, “I never hurt anybody until now,” all supported the prosecution’s version of events. Starkey’s story of an “accident” never came up until trial, Suhl said. 

“The reason he didn’t tell the police it was an accident, ladies and gentlemen, is because it simply is not true,” Suhl said. “You have to decide who to believe… Mr. Starkey has every reason, every motive, not to tell you the truth.”

The jury found that the murder was premeditated because Starkey went down to the home basement before returning with his shotgun, and “extremely cruel and atrocious,” thus deserving to be classified as a first degree murder. 

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268. 

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