Lapointe hearing May 6, 2010

Young Richard Lapointe with his family

Karen Lapointe-Martin stands by her ex-husband. She was called to testify yesterday.

Do you recall the day your grandmother died?” Casteleiro asked. “Yes, I do, it was a Sunday,” she responded. She recounted her family’s Sunday routine — go to church, visit with her 88-year-old grandmother, Bernice Martin, then go home for Sunday dinner. That evening a relative called to say that she could not get in touch with Bernice Martin and that she wanted Richard to check on her, Karen Lapointe-Martin recalled. “Richard went over,” she said. “He left the house. He went over there. The next thing I know [police] officers were there telling me I had to go to the hospital.”

Casteleiro asked what time Richard left. “It was 7 o’clock,” she responded. “I remember the time.” But at a hearing several years ago, and during Detective Morrissey’s tape-recorded interview with her in July 1989, Karen that Richard left their condo at 8 p.m. to go to Bernice Martin’s apartment. Casteleiro asked Karen if she remembered saying that. No, she responded. With Karen not able to recall much of her July 4, 1989, interview with Det. Morrissey, Casteleiro played a recording of it that Det. Morrissey made. Two-thirds of the recording was played yesterday and the rest is to be played today.

On the portion heard Thursday, Karen offered little to help police. She said that Richard left their home about 8 p.m. and that the only other time he was away from the house that afternoon was for about 20 minutes when he walked the dog. The 911 call reporting the fire came at 8:27 p.m. With fireworks audible in the background, Det. Morrissey pressed on, telling Karen that the March 8, 1987, killing of her grandmother had been solved and that her husband had done it. “The investigation is over,” Det. Morrissey, who is now retired, told her. “We’re here for the why. Why did this happen?” But Karen, who, like Richard, is disabled, could offer no explanation to the detective.

Those who have attended the hearing at Superior Court in Rockville expressed shock when they heard Det. Morrissey’s questioning of Karen. “We’re sure he’s responsible for what happened to Mrs. Martin,” Det. Morrissey told Karen. “There’s a lot of reasons for that.” Det. Morrissey mentioned DNA evidence when, in fact, there was none. Read more here.