Will murder conviction be upheld?

The way I see it, murderers are almost always nuts. You have to be crazy to kill another human being.

Now there’s psychiatric “by the book” crazy and “mafia type” crazy but it’s all insanity, right? The recent series of sensational murder trials we saw here ended up in three convictions. The killers will all have to spend the rest of their lives behind bars being treated as the dangerous animals they are.

Would you allow a man-eating tiger to walk around in town? Of course, instead of jail, you might want to administer a death sentence, but that is replete with danger.

I know all the arguments against capital punishment, and while I harbor thoughts that some people should pay the ultimate price, I am always stopped cold in my tracks by the absolute knowledge that we have seen people executed only to find out later on that they were innocent.

You really can’t explain that as collateral damage for having instituted a death penalty. Those of us with families that we love more than anything else find it incomprehensible that a loved one’s life could be snubbed out by some heinous, villainous, crazy creep and that same creep would continue to breathe.

The sister of Robert Chadwell, one of the victims in the recent murder trial, was quoted in The Berkshire Eagle after the life sentences were meted out to the convicted killer Caius Veiovis.

Her quote said that it was upsetting that the killers were “still breathing, eating and sleeping.” In fact, not only are the families of the murdered subjected to a lifetime of grief, the families of the killers are often subjected to similar pain for the rest of their lives. I had a letter from just such a family a while back and it certainly sensitized me to their pain.

The case of the triple murders offered some interesting insights into the way in which the criminal justice system works. Quite frequently, the prosecutors will offer deals to those accused of a crime to “roll” on the others accused of participating in the same crime.

In this case, the district attorney says that there were conversations about deals with the accused. Defendant Caius Veiovis says that he was offered a deal of seven years in return for his testimony. That’s a long way from three life sentences with no possibility of parole.

The DA, David Capeless, ultimately got to a Veiovis conviction but it was by no means easy. The accused hardly helped his case by cursing at the jury and by his very appearance. The jury was polled to ask if his outrageous appearance had anything to do with their guilty verdict and they said it hadn’t.

But on his way out of court, Veovis’ lawyer said that there had been insufficient evidence to convict. I wasn’t in court. I only read newspaper accounts but we live in Massachusetts where our high court has an annoying way of reversing guilty verdicts where the evidence was more circumstantial than direct.

Finally this week, I am waiting for the WAMC fund drive to begin on Monday morning at 6 a.m. We are all witnessing the dumbing down of America. People, particularly young people, don’t read. They don’t even watch the substandard news on television. They don’t read newspapers the way they used to.

WAMC devotes every penny that it gets to make the station better and better. We have a huge Massachusetts presence and it’s about to get even bigger. But we do it differently than the so-called “fee for service” way. Anyone can turn the radio on and listen and you don’t have to do anything to help the station survive. But, if you do that, you miss the point of this cooperative radio station. If everyone puts something in, we’ll live. If not …

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 10/4/14

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