Lewis Starkey III: Testimony by key witness expected today

  • Murder suspect Lewis Starkey III, left, during jury selection in Franklin County Superior Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/7/2019 9:52:17 PM
Modified: 4/9/2019 9:03:46 AM

GREENFIELD — After a weekend break, the trial of Lewis H. Starkey III starts up again today, with the key witness in the case expected to be called to testify. 

Starkey is on trial in Franklin Superior Court for the murder of his girlfriend, Amanda Glover, after a late-night argument on July 5, 2017 at their home at 179 West St., Wendell. He is also charged with attempting to murder Devin Glover, Amanda Glover’s adult son and the only eyewitness to the alleged incident. Starkey has pleaded not guilty. 

According to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Starkey shot Amanda Glover at close range with his shotgun after she told him their relationship was ending. He then allegedly turned his shotgun on Devin Glover, firing and missing, hitting Devin Glover’s bedroom door. 

“The last words that Devin heard his mom say were, ‘What do you think you’re doing with that (shotgun),’ and (Starkey) answered that question with his finger,” said First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne during opening arguments last week. 

According to First Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl, Devin Glover is expected to be called to testify today. 

Prosecutors have described Devin Glover as a man with “moderate” autism, who was dependent on his mother. He called the police from the woods, while Starkey fled in Amanda Glover’s truck to Specialized Carriers in Chicopee, his place of work, where he allegedly fired at an employee there, injuring the man with flying broken glass. 

Starkey is not on trial yet for the alleged Chicopee incident, because it happened outside of Franklin County. However, evidence found in Chicopee — including the shotgun, which prosecutors say was wrestled away from Starkey after his gun jammed — is being introduced during this trial. 

Starkey fled again, according to prosecutors, and was wanted by authorities for five days until he was pulled over and arrested without incident in Orange.

Starkey later told police — in a recorded interview shown to the jury last week — that Amanda Glover had gone suddenly “cold” on him, and that he believed coworkers at Specialized Carriers and police were part of a plot over the past year to stalk and spy on him to make him “snap.” He said he hid in wooded areas of Northfield and Warwick before being caught. 

Starkey did not specifically admit to any crimes during his interview with police. However, notes were found in the car after he was arrested with written statements like “Why did I do it?”

Devin Glover’s credibility and his coming testimony is a key element in Starkey’s trial.

During jury selection last week, only people who said they would treat an autistic witness the same as any other, judging their credibility in the context of all the evidence, were selected. Jurors also had to convince Judge John Agostini that they would not allow prior knowledge or feelings about autism to influence them as jurors.

Devin Glover’s testimony is key not only because he is the only eyewitness to the alleged murder, but because the defense, led by attorney Michael Sheridan, said in its opening statement Devin Glover retrieved the shotgun, not Starkey, from the home basement and pointed it at Starkey after hearing Starkey and Amanda Glover arguing. 

Sheridan said that Devin Glover, aware that his presence was a point of tension in his mother and Starkey’s relationship, pointed the gun at Starkey, prompting a wrestling match between the two men over the weapon. According to Sheridan, the weapon was accidently discharged during the struggle, killing Amanda Glover. 

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

Sheridan acknowledged that there will be “contradictory” accounts of July 5, 2017 presented by the two sides at trial, but that jurors should “look beyond the obvious in seeking the truth.”

The defense will have an opportunity to cross-examine Devin Glover during his testimony. 

After the prosecution rests its case — expected this week — the defense will begin presenting its share of evidence.

The defense is under no obligation to present any evidence, due to the burden of proof lying with the state, but has sent out approximately 30 subpoenas, and has indicated it intends to call witnesses. 

After the evidentiary portion of the trial concludes, both sides will give closing statements to the 16-person jury before deliberation begins. The trial was originally estimated to run for approximately two weeks. 

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

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