Schaffer formally rejects offer in Mallove murder case

Chad M. Schaffer, who goes before a Norwich jury Monday for the 2004 murder of Eugene Mallove, formally rejected two offers Wednesday from the state to resolve his case short of a trial.

Schaffer had the option to plead guilty to accessory to commit first-degree manslaughter in exchange for a 20-year sentence. He also was given the chance to plead guilty to accessory to first-degree manslaughter and accessory to third-degree robbery in exchange for a sentence of 25 years in prison, suspended after 17 years served, followed by three years probation.

Schaffer is accused of taking part in the beating death of New Hampshire physicist Eugene Mallove, who was cleaning out a family-owned home on Salem Turnpike in Norwich on May 14, 2004, when he was killed in the driveway.

Prosecutor Paul J. Narducci, who is trying the case with prosecutor Thomas DeLillo, said Schaffer was never interested in receiving a plea offer from the state, but that the state felt it was necessary to extend an offer based on two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Both Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper involved a defendant’s right to an effective attorney during the plea bargaining process.

Standing with his attorney, Bruce A. McIntyre, Schaffer confirmed that he was rejecting the offers and wanted his trial. Judge Patrick J. Clifford asked Schaffer a series of questions to ensure he understood the procedure. Schaffer will be tried for murder, felony murder and third-degree robbery. The judge explained that Schaffer could be sentenced to up to 80 years in prison if convicted.

“I find he understands what the offer is, is respectfully declining it and taking his chance at trial,” Clifford said.

k.florin@theday.com

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