Key witness to Mallove murder says she lied to police 30 times

The state's only firsthand witness to the May 2004 beating death of physicist Eugene Mallove in Norwich calmly admitted on the witness stand Wednesday in New London Superior Court that she had lied to police 30 times before she told them what she said was the truth.

Candace L. Foster, 34, who is cooperating with the state with the hope of getting leniency in her own murder case, finished testifying at the murder trial of Mozzelle Brown before the trial broke for lunch.

Under direct examination by prosecutor Paul J. Narducci, Foster broke into tears several times as she related how she, Brown and her then-boyfriend, Chad M. Schaffer returned to 119 Salem Turnpike and continued an attack on Mallove that the two men had started earlier. Brown and Schaffer are cousins, and Schaffer is serving a 16-year sentence for his role in the crime. Though he was subpoenaed by the state to testify, Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed ruled earlier this week that he could invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent since he has a pending appeal.

Foster, whose credibility has been called into question during earlier proceedings, turned toward the jury box and used her long reddish-brown hair to shield her view of Brown at the defense table as she admitted going to the crime scene, where Mallove, a prominent science writer, was lying on the ground.

"He had blood coming out of his mouth," she testified. "He said, 'Help me.'"

Foster admitted that instead of assisting the 56-year-old victim, she took part in the continued attack after Schaffer struck her in the nose. She testified that Schaffer instructed her to drive Mallove's van from the scene, and grabbed her by the neck and threatened her when police arrived at their apartment the next morning. She said she remained "scared of Chad" for the next five years until she was taken into the witness protection program.

Even then, she said, she didn't tell the whole truth.

Under cross-examination by Brown's attorney, Richard C. Marquette, she seemed resigned to admitting she had repeatedly lied to police.

"Did you lie to police the first time you met with them?" He asked.

"Yes," she responded, sometimes inserting the sentence, "I lied many times,"

The line of questioning continued until she admitted lying 30 times. Defense attorney Bruce McIntyre had used a similar tactic at Schaffer's trial two years ago, during which Foster admitted under cross-examination that she had lied 28 times.

Schaffer accepted a plea deal that was extended by the state in the midst of his murder trial and is serving a 16-year prison sentence for manslaughter.

Brown, to date, has not given any indication that he is willing to plea bargain.

Under redirect examination, Narducci asked Foster again why she had initially lied to police, and Foster responded, "Chad might have killed me."

The couple had two children together, and during their decade-long relationship, Schaffer was arrested and served prison time for domestic violence.

Even when she was not telling the entire truth, Foster said, she was giving police other information that was truthful. She didn't tell the police about her own involvement, she said, because she was afraid of losing her children, going to prison and losing her friendship with a close friend, Jill Sebastian, who eventually went to police with information about the case.

Foster's sister, Lynn Foster, who was living with Foster and Schaffer in the Artspace apartment building on Chestnut Street, testified that she overheard her sister and Schaffer talking about "getting their stories straight" after the crime and saw Foster trying to clean Schaffer's basketball jersey with bleach.

"I decided if I was ever questioned, I would come forth truthfully," the sister testified. She will return to the witness stand today for cross-examination.

k.florin@theday.com

TWITTER: @KFLORIN

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