Key witness to Mallove murder testifies at trial

Candace Foster
Candace Foster

The prosecution reached a crucial point at the trial of Mozzelle Brown Tuesday when a woman charged with taking part in the May 2004 beating death of physicist Eugene Mallove began testifying in New London Superior Court.

Candace L. Foster, a 34-year-old mother of two whose credibility has been called into question during previous court proceedings, took the witness stand and told the jury how Brown and her ex-boyfriend Chad M. Schaffer drove her to 119 Salem Turnpike in Norwich and forced her to take part in the continued attack on Mallove.

Hoping her cooperation will lead to a shorter prison sentence, Foster recounted the details of the brutal crime to a jury that soon will be asked by the state to find Brown, 40, guilty of murder, accessory to murder, conspiracy to commit murder and third-degree robbery. Foster, who is being held at the Janet S. York Correctional Institution, is expected to remain incarcerated until her criminal case is taken up at a later date. Her attorney, Richard F. Kelly, was with her in the courtroom as she testified Tuesday.

Using her long reddish-brown hair to shield her face from Brown at the defense table and averting her eyes quickly after prosecutor Paul J. Narducci questioned her about gruesome crime scene photos on the projector, Foster testified that Schaffer came back to their Chestnut Street apartment with blood on his clothing that night and told her to go with him. Brown picked them up and drove her to the scene with a plan to make Mallove’s assault “look like a robbery,” she testified.

Mallove was lying face down near his garage when the trio entered the property via a path from the adjacent McDonald’s parking lot, Foster testified. The two men flipped Mallove over and started taking off his shirt, shoes, wallet and watch, she testified. They kicked Mallove, punched him and struck him in the head with a pipe and Schaffer put a bag over his face, she said. Brown told Schaffer to “hurry up,” she testified.

At that point, she said, Schaffer told her she had to hit Mallove so that she couldn’t tell anyone about the crime. She said she started to leave, but Schaffer struck her in the face, causing her nose to bleed. She said she hit Mallove with the pipe “only once.”

“Did you kick him?” Narducci asked. “Yes,” she admitted, crying.

“A number of times?” Narducci pressed. “Yes,” Foster responded.

Schaffer’s mother and stepfather had been evicted from the Mallove property, and Schaffer had received several phone calls indicating that Mallove was throwing out items that belonged to family members, Foster testified. Mallove, a prominent science writer from Pembroke, N.H., had driven to Norwich that weekend to clean out his childhood home, which his mother owned and which has since been demolished.

Foster will continue testifying under direct examination today and is expected to face a rigorous cross-examination by Brown’s attorney, Richard C. Marquette. Taken into witness protection by Norwich police in 2009, Foster has admitted she lied to police on numerous occasions during the investigation before finally implicating herself in the crime. She testified at Schaffer’s trial in 2010 that she finally told the truth because she “wanted to do the right thing.” At a probable cause hearing in Brown’s case in April 2014, she said she came clean because she “was tired.”

Foster told the jury she has a learning disability that causes her to “learn differently,” but that she had recently obtained her GED diploma. She said she was collecting (Social Security) disability payments in 2004 but had also worked at retail jobs. She admitted she was regularly smoking marijuana with Schaffer and others.

Foster broke down briefly, prompting Narducci to hand her a tissue, as she described Schaffer’s history of abusing her. She testified he kicked her, choked her, flicked cigarettes at her and called her “stupid, a whore and useless.”

Schaffer pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in the midst of his trial two years ago and is serving a 16-year prison sentence. Foster’s mother is raising the former couple’s two children.

Also Tuesday, retired Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver testified about the autopsy he conducted on Mallove.

Carver detailed the “large number” of injuries that Mallove had suffered, including abrasions to the back of the arms and elbows indicative of being in a struggle while lying on his back, abrasions to the knees indicating he had fallen, deep bruises to the upper back, a stab wound to the right forearm, blunt trauma to the face and fractures of the larynx that indicated Mallove had been pushed or kicked on the neck.

Carver ruled the cause of death was multiple injuries to the head and neck and the manner of death was homicide.

k.florin@theday.com

Twitter: @KFLORIN

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