Mozzelle Brown trial in death of Eugene Mallove gets underway

Mozzelle Brown during the first day of his trial for murder charges related to the death of Eugene Mallove in 2004 at New London Superior Court Tuesday morning, Oct. 7, 2014.
Mozzelle Brown during the first day of his trial for murder charges related to the death of Eugene Mallove in 2004 at New London Superior Court Tuesday morning, Oct. 7, 2014.

Jurors heard numerous details about physicist Eugene Mallove’s death and a few nuggets about his life Tuesday as the murder trial of Mozzelle Brown got underway in New London Superior Court.

Brown, 40, is one of three people charged with taking part in the beating death of Mallove, a 56-year-old New Hampshire resident who had come to Norwich on May 14, 2004, to clean out his family’s home at 119 Salem Turnpike in Norwich and prepare it for rental.

Retrieved earlier this year from federal prison, where he is serving a 15-year sentence for drug and firearms offenses, Brown has pleaded not guilty and opted for a trial. He is charged with accessory to murder, conspiracy to commit murder, felony murder and third-degree robbery. Wearing a tan business suit and with a shaven head, he sat at the defense table Tuesday with attorney Richard C. Marquette.

Prosecutors Paul J. Narducci and Thomas M. DeLillo, assisted by Inspector Thomas Pedersen, introduced the case with testimony from emergency dispatcher Beth Desmond, a prospective tenant, a paramedic and a Norwich police sergeant. They played the 911 call that the prospective tenant, Demetrese Granger, placed after arriving at the home and finding Mallove’s battered body on the ground. The state’s attorneys displayed crime scene photos of Mallove’s body and asked Sgt. Darren Powers to remove Mallove’s bloody pants and shirt from evidence bags and hold them up for viewing.

The state also elicited testimony from attorney Andrew Celemme, who handled the eviction that spring of Mallove tenants Pat and Roy Anderson, who are relatives of Brown and one of his co-defendants, Chad M. Schaffer. Schaffer is serving a 16-year prison sentence for his role in the crime. Schaffer’s former girlfriend, Candace Foster, is awaiting trial and is cooperating with the state.

Mallove had grown up at the Salem Turnpike home, and jurors gleaned a little about his personal life during the testimony of his lifelong friend, Francis Durga, who lived across the street. Durga said he kept an eye on the property and that he had visited with Mallove that day after arriving home from a seminar and recognizing his friend’s dark green minivan, “with a good ole’ American flag on the back out it,” in the driveway.

Durga said he helped Mal­love carry some heavy items to a dumpster and that Mal­love stopped by his house afterward, where they talked about old times and “his wonderful work he was doing with cold fusion.” Mallove, who had a doctorate in science, was a prominent science writer and champion of alternative energy research.

Durga said Mallove left, and that when Durga went out for gas and beer about 8 p.m., Mallove’s van was gone. Powers, the sergeant, had testified that he recovered surveillance footage from the nearby Chucky’s Mobil station showing Mallove in the store between 8:21 and 8:23 p.m.

Durga said he was awakened by flashing lights at the Mallove home at 2:30 a.m. and walked across the street to see what was happening. He was “overtaken by the whole situation” when he learned his friend was dead.

“He was such a wonderful person,” Durga testified. “A good father and husband. I don’t see how anybody could do anything like that.”

Mallove’s son, Ethan Mal­love, is expected to watch part of the trial and may be called on to testify.

Mallove’s wife, Joanne, learned of trouble at her husband’s childhood home through Granger, who testified she called the number on the “For Rent” sign that she had seen while driving by and spoke with Mrs. Mallove. Mrs. Mallove told her to drive to the house and ask her husband about the property and to tell him to phone her.

Granger told the jury she parked her car and walked around to the back of the house.

“I turned back around because I seen someone on the ground,” she testified. Frightened, she called police from her cellphone at 10:55 p.m. and then placed a second call to Mrs. Mallove.

“I was telling her I think that her husband probably was dead,” she testified.

The graphic crime scene photos show Mallove lying on his back, with his left arm extended, his right arm behind his back and with pools of blood around him.

Daniel E. Miles, then a paramedic with American Ambulance, checked Mallove for signs of life, and finding none, called a doctor at The William W. Backus Hospital and described the body in order to get a medical “presumption of death.”

The trial will resume today and is expected to continue for two or three weeks.

k.florin@theday.com

Twitter: @KFLORIN

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