Published June 25. 2010 4:00AM
Confronted two months ago by detectives who told him "lying was not an option" and promised that he would see his children again, Chad M. Schaffer admitted his involvement in the 2004 killing of physicist Eugene Mallove, according to court testimony.
Detectives Corey Poore and James Curtis visited Schaffer, a 32-year-old restaurant worker, at his Taftville apartment on April 1 and conducted an interview in the yard that lasted nearly two hours and was secretly recorded.
The detectives let Schaffer know they had a lot of information and asked if he was willing to talk.
"He said yes, he would," Curtis testified at a court hearing Thursday. "He cried. He didn't wail, but he had tears in his eyes. He said what he did that night."
Schaffer provided a written statement, and within hours was charged with murder, felony murder and first-degree robbery.
Details of the second police investigation of the Mallove murder came to light Thursday as an evidentiary hearing in the case concluded. New London Superior Court Judge Susan B. Handy found the state has enough evidence to prosecute Schaffer.
Mallove, 56, of New Hampshire, was beaten to death in the driveway of a family-owned home at 119 Salem Turnpike in Norwich on May 14, 2004. Norwich and state police reopened the case after Handy dismissed charges against two men initially accused of the murder. In June 2009, the state took three key witnesses into the witness-protection program, and by April of this year, police had gathered enough information to obtain arrest warrants for Schaffer and his former girlfriend, Candace L. Foster. Both are being held in prison in lieu of bond.
Schaffer and Foster both have implicated a third man, Mozzelle Brown, in the murder. Brown, deemed an "armed career criminal" by a federal judge last year, is serving a 15-year prison sentence for weapons and drug dealing.
The police could not link Schaffer to the bloody crime scene through DNA, though they say the state forensic laboratory is still conducting tests. They did find near Mallove's body a key chain that Schaffer's daughter had made for him in grade school. They also tied him to the crime with statements from three witnesses, including Foster, who is the mother of his two children and co-defendant.
Schaffer's version of the crime jibes with Foster's version, except that Schaffer said he only threw one punch at Mallove before he walked away. Foster said Schaffer and Brown stomped on Mallove's face, beat him with a pipe and suffocated him by putting a bag over his head.
Foster said she and Schaffer had once lived at the Mallove property with Schaffer's parents, Pat and Roy Anderson, who had been evicted. Foster said Schaffer left their Chestnut Street apartment that day after receiving several phone calls from his mother, who was upset that somebody was at the home throwing away their possessions. Mallove had traveled from his New Hampshire home to clean out the property.
Foster said Schaffer came home with blood on his shirt and boots and told her he needed her to go somewhere. Schaffer's cousin, Brown, drove them to the property, Foster said. They smoked marijuana and the men said they "had to make it look like a robbery." When they arrived at the scene, Foster said Mallove lay on the ground bleeding and begging for help, and Schaffer forced her to take part in the crime so that she would not report him to police.
Foster said she drove Mallove's minivan to an employee parking lot near Foxwoods Resort Casino, went home and washed Schaffer's bloody clothing. She later told police that they had been home all night.
Though there is little physical evidence in the case, Detective Curtis testified that there was DNA recovered at the site whose source is unknown and that the lab is looking at a "herringbone pattern" found on Mallove's bloodied clothing that appears to have been transferred from the shirt of an assailant. Foster said Schaffer was wearing a Denver Nuggets shirt when he left the apartment and that it was bloodied when he returned home.
Also implicating Schaffer in the crime were Keishon Dullivan and Jill Sebastian, a couple that lived with Schaffer and Foster on Chestnut Street. Dullivan and Sebastian also entered the witness-protection program last year as the police investigation intensified. Dullivan testified that Schaffer admitted to beating up Mallove and taking Mallove's shoes, wallet, cell phone and camera to make it look like a robbery. Schaffer and Brown allegedly burned the items some time later.
Foster and Schaffer have two young children who were taken into state custody when they were arrested. Schaffer has not seen the children since Foster took them when she entered the witness-protection program. Curtis said that during the April 1 interview, the detectives assured Schaffer he could see the children if he cooperated with police.
"We knew where this case was going," Curtis said. "I think he understood that if the process works like it should, he will see his kids again."
Following the judge's finding Thursday, defense attorney Bruce A. McIntyre entered a "not guilty" plea on Schaffer's behalf. He and prosecutor Paul J. Narducci will begin pretrial discussions of the case next month.