Opening arguments made in Lewis Starkey III trial

  • Lewis Starkey III stands during his murder trial in Franklin County Superior Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/5/2019 3:31:51 PM

GREENFIELD — To the prosecution, Amanda Glover’s death was a murder — to the defense, an accident.

Opening arguments were given Thursday in the trial of Lewis H. Starkey III, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Amanda Glover, after an argument at their 179 West St. home in Wendell on July 5, 2017.

Starkey is also charged with attempted murder against Amanda Glover’s adult son, Devin Glover. The 55-year-old has pleaded not guilty in the Franklin Superior Court case.

The prosecution’s story

The prosecuting Northwestern District Attorney’s Office alleges Starkey shot Amanda Glover in the face with his 12 gauge shotgun after the 47-year-old mother told him she was ending their relationship. According to the prosecution, Devin Glover, who is autistic and is expected to testify later in the trial, witnessed his mother’s killing.

Devin Glover emerged from his bedroom in the Wendell home after hearing an escalating argument coming from the kitchen, First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne said. Devin Glover attempted to stop the fighting, and Starkey went to the basement of the home before returning with his shotgun and pointing it at Amanda Glover, Gagne said.

“Things had gone pretty far and they still could stop, but they didn’t,” Gagne told the 16 jurors.

“The last words that Devin heard his mom say were, ‘What do you think you’re doing with that,’ and (Starkey) answered that question with his finger,” Gagne said.

Devin Glover then ran to his bedroom, shutting the door behind him, Gagne said, while Starkey fired at him. The shotgun blast damaged the door frame, but Devin Glover was able to escape into the surrounding woods where he called the police. Starkey then fled in Amanda Glover’s car, Gagne said.

According to the prosecution, Amanda Glover and Starkey had been in a relationship for several years prior to the alleged murder.

“For a while things were going well, but a major source of tension arose when Amanda Glover invited into the home her adult son, Devin,” Gagne said. “The tension over Devin had been boiling in the defendant’s mind.”

Gagne said Starkey and Amanda Glover had been planning to move to a Vermont “dream house” they were working on together. However, the relationship deteriorated and Amanda Glover told Starkey that she was leaving him, and that she and Devin Glover would be the ones moving to Vermont, Gagne said. Starkey, apparently experiencing financial difficulties as well, “snapped,” Gagne said.

After leaving the scene, Starkey then drove more than an hour to his Chicopee place of work, Specialized Carriers. He allegedly fired his shotgun through a window at his manager, Michael Scribner, injuring the man with flying broken glass.

Starkey is not yet on trial for the alleged Chicopee incident because it did not happen in Franklin County. However, the Chicopee evidence is being admitted in this trial as related “bad acts” evidence.

According to Scribner, who testified Thursday, Starkey’s shotgun apparently jammed after the first shot, and Scribner charged at Starkey, wrestling the weapon away from him. Starkey then fled again, prosecutors say, leaving behind the alleged murder weapon and remaining on the run in Franklin County for five days. He was pulled over in Orange by Orange Police Sgt. James Sullivan — now acting police chief in Orange. When Sullivan approached the vehicle, Starkey said, “You got the prize,” Gagne said.

Notes were later found in the car, Gagne said, apparently written by Starkey. One read: “I snapped under pressure. They are calling me dangerous. Not really. I never hurt anybody until now,” signed “Lew.”

The defense’s story

“The evidence is going to show two very different stories,” said Michael Sheridan, Starkey’s attorney, before presenting jurors with a wildly different account of July 5, 2017.

“Obviously, this case, the evidence will show, it is a tragedy,” Sheridan said. “It’s not a murder. I expect the evidence to show that this was an accident.”

According to Sheridan, Amanda Glover and Starkey were “very much in love,” and had no intentions to break up — they even discussed marriage.

On the night of Amanda Glover’s death, Devin Glover — who Sheridan said frequently played violent video games and was wearing a “Call of Duty” shirt — was in his room when he heard his mother and Starkey arguing in the kitchen, Sheridan said.

“(Devin Glover) went and got the gun and brought it into the kitchen area,” said Sheridan, adding that Devin Glover pointed the shotgun at Starkey.

According to Sheridan, Devin Glover and Starkey got into a “wrestling match,” with Starkey acting in self-defense by trying to take the shotgun from Devin Glover.

Amanda Glover tried to intervene, Sheridan said, and the shotgun was accidently discharged, killing her. Sheridan added that evidence will show Devin Glover was the one who initially held the weapon, and that Amanda Glover’s lack of defensive wounds support his theory.

After his mother was shot, Devin Glover ran to his room and shut the door, Sheridan said, leaving the shotgun behind. According to Sheridan, Starkey picked up the gun and fired at the doorknob of Devin Glover’s bedroom to get inside.

Sheridan said Devin Glover’s behavior while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, and when police arrived at the house, suggests he was involved in his mother’s death. Devin Glover could not remember his phone number, couldn’t spell his middle name, Sheridan said.

“He was involved and he was nervous, and that’s why he couldn’t remember these simple things,” Sheridan said.

The prosecution has described Devin Glover as having “moderate” autism.

Sheridan said Starkey never admitted to killing Amanda Glover, and statements Starkey has said or written like, “Why did I do it,” are referring to the subsequent Chicopee incident, not Amanda Glover’s death. He also said there was no history of violence in the relationship between Starkey and Amanda Glover.

In Chicopee, according to Sheridan, Starkey was attempting to retrieve personal items he had left at work. He didn’t fire at his manager attempting to kill the man, Sheridan said, but fired a warning shot to scare people out of the building.

“The select few will look beyond the obvious in seeking the truth,” Sheridan told the jurors. “The evidence in this case is going to be contradictory.”

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


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