“The Appellate Court is scheduled to hear arguments Friday [today] in the appeal of 66-year-old Richard Lapointe, who was convicted of murdering Bernice Martin and sentenced to life in prison. Lapointe insists that DNA evidence shows he’s innocent and that his former lawyers were ineffective.”
On March 8, 1987, fire fighters were called to the Mayfair Gardens Elderly Housing Complex, Manchester, Connecticut. They found Mrs. Bernice Martin, 88 years old, barely breathing, and badly beaten. She died later that evening in the hospital.
Convicted for her murder is her granddaughter’s former husband, Richard A. Lapointe. To others, Richard Lapointe is innocent and wrongfully convicted.
I am convinced this mentally retarded man with Dandy Walker Syndrome was set up by the police and deserves to be free.
A good point by Rick Green: “An essential question, never fully explored, is how the state believes that Lapointe, physically disabled and with a low IQ, could have committed the crime in such a short time frame. The killer disrobed the 88-year-old Bernice Martin, tied her wrists and neck, stabbed her more than 10 times, raped and strangled her and set fire to apartment. Just minutes after the crime Lapointe was watching television with his wife, showing no signs of a bloody struggle.”
I have written extensively about this case which I consider a miscarriage of justice. All my posts, case analysis, and trial reports are here.
From the clerk’s schedule:
UPDATE: “During a short presentation before a three-judge panel Friday, Lapointe lawyer Paul Casteleiro tried to show why the note about burn time should have been disclosed by the state back in 1992.
“There has never been any dispute that the note was never disclosed,” Casteleiro told Judges Bethany J. Alvaro, Stuart D. Bear and Joseph H. Pellegrino. “If the fire burned a minimum of 30 minutes it is very clear Richard Lapointe could not have set the fire.”
“The burn time is a very critical issue … The jury could have concluded that in fact Richard Lapointe was home and is innocent of the crime,” Casteleiro said. “The jury should have been able to consider that evidence.”
The burn note refers to a note written by a police detective about the potential “burn time” of the fire set by the killer after the murder. The note suggests that the fire that consumed Bernice Martin’s apartment lasted only 30 minutes.
No word yet when the Connecticut Appellate Court will make a decision.
To be continued!