Police charge two in Mallove murder

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Norwich - City police arrested a man and a woman Thursday and charged them each with murder in the 2004 slaying of prominent New Hampshire physicist Eugene Mallove at a family-owned home in Norwich.

Police arrested Chad M. Schaffer, 32, of 34-36 S. 2nd St., Taftville, just before 7:30 p.m. and charged him with murder, felony murder and first-degree robbery. He was held on $10 million bond set by New London County State's Attorney's Officer for Part "A," which issued the warrant for his arrest just minutes before police took him into custody.

Candace L. Foster, 30, of 35 Chestnut St., was taken into custody as early as 1:30 p.m., Patrol Division Commander Capt. Timothy Menard said Thursday in a press release. She was charged with accessory to felony murder, murder and first-degree robbery.

Foster's bond, also issued by the State's Attorney's Office, was set at $2.5 million. Both Foster and Schaffer are scheduled to be presented Monday in Norwich Superior Court.

Social workers from the Department of Children and Families took the minor children of both of the accused into protective custody.

Mallove was a 1965 graduate of Norwich Free Academy. After leaving Norwich, he earned graduate degrees from MIT and Harvard University and occupied a respected position in the scientific world. He was a diligent pursuer of the cold fusion theory, an unproven theory that hydrogen fusion can occur at room temperature rather than at extreme heat and pressure.

Mallove wrote three books, including "Fire and Ice: Searching for the Truth Behind the Cold Fusion Furor," a finalist for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize.

Schaffer, complying with a request from police, showed up at police headquarters Thursday afternoon. Detectives kept him occupied while others connected to the case tried to get a signed arrest warrant. Police eventually allowed him to leave with a companion at about 6:15 p.m. but arrested him 70 minutes later.

Two men originally charged with killing Mallove had their charges dropped after an investigation and trial that lasted nearly two years unraveled.

At 10:53 p.m. on May 14, 2004, police found Mallove's body near a trash container at the rear of a family-owned home at 119 Salem Turnpike in Norwich. The house has since been demolished in the highway improvement project in that area of the city.

Police found Mallove's minivan in a parking lot at Foxwoods Resort Casino and said several personal items, including his wallet, digital camera and wedding band, had been stolen.

Two days after the murder, New Britain police stopped Joseph Reilly and Gary McAvoy in a vehicle stolen from Groton on the day of the killing. The two men admitted they had been on a crack binge that weekend and had conducted several burglaries and stolen the car.

Both men had blood on their clothing when they were arrested. Norwich police charged the men with Mallove's murder about a year later, but DNA tests revealed that none of the blood came from Mallove.

Menard said Thursday that the latest arrests are the result of a tenacious investigation by the Norwich Police Department and, later, by a task force established in November 2008, comprised of investigators from Norwich police, the New London County State's Attorney's Office, the Connecticut State Police, and the Chief State's Attorney's Office in Rocky Hill. A special arrest team from the Norwich Police Department assisted in Thursday's arrest phase of the investigation.

The task force was created when charges against McAvoy and Reilly were dropped.

Menard said Schaffer was developed as a person of interest early in the nearly six-year investigation. However, he said, it was only recently that there was sufficient evidence to support his arrest.

When the task force was formed, Norwich detective James Curtis and Terence McFadden of the state police were assigned to the investigation full time. As the case continued to expand and additional leads were developed, Norwich Sgt. Corey Poore was added as an additional full-time resource to the investigative team.

In February 2009, Gov. M. Jodi Rell authorized a $50,000 reward in the case. Two months later, the Mallove family and CBS Outdoor Advertising Agency launched a billboard advertising campaign seeking information into Mallove's homicide.

Menard credited Curtis and Poore with developing new evidence, including collecting statements, that led to the arrest warrants being issued.

He said the investigation remains open and ongoing and more arrests are anticipated in the case.

c.potter@the day

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