Trial under way in Eugene Mallove homicide
Ethan Mallove, on the witness stand at the trial of a man accused of beating his father to death in Norwich eight years ago, gazed at a convenience store surveillance picture displayed for the jury and said, "That's my dad."
His father, 56-year-old Dr. Eugene Mallove of Pembroke, N.H., had stopped at the local Chucky's for a few items shortly before he was beaten to death in the driveway of his childhood home at 119 Salem Turnpike on May 14, 2004. The tenants had been evicted about a month earlier, and Mallove was cleaning out the house, which belonged to his mother.
Mallove, an MIT and Harvard graduate, was a physicist who championed cold fusion and published a magazine called Infinite Energy.
The younger Mallove, a software engineer who was studying at the University of New Hampshire when his father was killed, testified Monday at the trial of Chad M. Schaffer. The 34-year-old cook and his girlfriend had lived with Schaffer's mother and stepfather at the Mallove home before they were evicted for failure to pay rent.
Schaffer is accused of accosting Mallove with his cousin, Mozzelle Brown, and brutally beating him. According to testimony at previous court hearings, Schaffer and Brown left and returned with Schaffer's girlfriend, Candace Foster, who joined in the attack as Mallove begged for help.
As the trial got under way, prosecutors Paul J. Narducci and Thomas DeLillo set the scene by calling on the 911 dispatcher on duty at the Norwich Police Department that night, the prospective renter who found Mallove's body, a paramedic who presumed him dead, a city detective, Ethan Mallove and a district manager from the convenience store.
Monday, the jury heard the 911 call placed by Demetrese Granger, who was the potential renter, and saw crime scene photos of the beaten and bloodied Mallove.
The trial, taking place in Superior Court in Norwich before Judge Barbara B. Jongbloed, is expected to last up to a month. Schaffer, who has been incarcerated since he was arrested in April 2010, sat with defense attorney Bruce A. McIntyre. He had changed from his prison garb into tan pants and a blue jacket. His shackles were not visible to the jurors.
In addition to Mallove's son and other family members, one of the two men initially charged with Mallove's murder watched the trial for a few hours. A judge in 2008 dismissed the charges against them after extensive testing on physical evidence failed to establish their guilt.
Police reopened the case and eventually obtained warrants charging Schaffer, Brown and Foster. Brown, serving a 15-year federal prison sentence on weapons and drug-dealing convictions, has not yet been brought to Connecticut to face the charges. Foster, who was taken into a witness protection program during the investigation, is incarcerated and cooperating with the state.
Schaffer's mother and stepfather, Pat and Roy Anderson, attended the trial but stayed out of the courtroom after the judged ordered that witnesses be sequestered. Ethan Mallove was allowed to stay as a representative of the victim, and his testimony was taken early to avoid conflicts.
Granger testified that she had brought her boyfriend dinner at his job in New London at 9:45 p.m. the night Mallove was murdered and was returning to his apartment in Norwich when she saw a "For Rent" sign in front of the house at 119 Salem Turnpike. She testified that she pulled into the driveway, got the phone number and drove away.
She said she dropped her children off at the boyfriend's Cliff Street apartment and headed back that night to 119 Salem Turnpike to meet Mallove after reaching his wife, Joanne Mallove, on the phone. Joanne Mallove said her husband was at the house cleaning up, Granger said.
Returning to the Mallove home about 20 minutes later, Granger said a car that had been in the driveway was gone. She said she got out of her car and noticed "a shadow on the ground."
Granger said she saw the body stretched out on the ground and ran back to her car, scared. She called 911. Former American Ambulance paramedic Daniel Miles testified that he and his partner "took pause" before entering the dimly lit property. Once he confirmed that the victim was not breathing and had no pulse or other signs of life, he called a physician at The William W. Backus Hospital, who gave him permission to presume the man dead at 11:12 p.m.
When Detective Darren Powers, then a patrolman, arrived at the scene, he testified that Granger was sitting in her car talking on her cell phone to Joanne Mallove. Powers took the phone and told the victim's wife that he would call her back when he had more information.
Powers also attended Mallove's autopsy, where, according to a court document, Dr. H. Wayne Carver documented 32 facial lacerations caused by a blunt instrument, numerous cuts and abrasions to his extremities and a stab wound to the right forearm. Mallove also had a fractured thyroid cartilage.
Carver ruled the manner of death a homicide caused by multiple head and neck injuries.
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