Voices of the friends..
An audio project by Alex Wood
1. Click here to hear Bob Perske – We are coming back. 34 seconds. February 11, 2008.
Bob Perske discusses how the current political and judicial environment makes it difficult to win a new trial, through a writ of habeas corpus, for a person who has been convicted of a crime.
“Fuger” (pronounced FI-ger) refers to Connecticut Superior Court Judge Stanley T. Fuger Jr., who denied Richard Lapointe’s most recent petition for a writ of habeas corpus. That decision is on appeal.
“Kate” refers to Kate Germond, an investigator with Centurion Ministries, a New Jersey-based organization that works to free innocent people who have been convicted of crimes. Centurion Ministries has taken up Richard Lapointe’s case, and Bob comments on the organization’s dedication to the case.
2. Click here to hear Bob Perske – Justice for individuals with disabilities. 2 minutes. February 11, 2008.
Bob Perske discusses some of the difficulties persons with disabilities have in getting justice — even from news reporters.
Liz Martin was the step-mother of Karen Lapointe, who was Richard Lapointe’s wife but divorced him after he was charged with murdering Karen’s grandmother, Bernice Martin. (After the divorce, Karen changed her name back to Karen Martin.) Liz was the person who first tipped Bob off to the injustice being done to Richard.
Johnny Paul Penry is a man with mental retardation who was convicted of a murder and sentenced to death in Texas. There were extensive legal proceedings in the case, including an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and a second trial in which Penry was again sentenced to die. Eventually, his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case that it is unconstitutional to execute persons with retardation.
3. Click here to hear Bob Perske – Richard couldn’t do it. 1 minute. February 11, 2008
Bob Perske discusses Richard Lapointe’s physical inability to have committed the “highly athletic” murder of Bernice Martin.
4. Click here to hear Bob Perske – A Fierce Prosecutor. 1 minute, 23 seconds. February 11, 2008.
Rosita Creamer, who was the lead prosecutor at Richard Lapointe’s murder trial in 1992, was known for the aggressiveness of her courtroom style.
Here, Bob Perske recalls how Stephen Greenspan, an educational psychologist who specializes in disability issues, recruited a fellow educational psychologist, Richard H. Bloomer, to testify at the death-penalty phase of the trial — and how Dr. Bloomer reacted to Attorney Creamer’s cross examination.
The jury that had convicted Richard Lapointe of murdering Bernice Martin ultimately decided to spare him the death penalty. As a result, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
5. Click here to hear Bob Perske – A Tip from Inside the Family. 6 minutes, 26 seconds. February 11, 2008.
Bob Perske describes how he first learned of the injustice being done to Richard Lapointe from Elizabeth Martin, the second wife of Karen Martin Lapointe’s father, who was generally known as Bill Martin. Bob also refers in this clip to Pat Culligan and Chris Cosgrove, the public defenders who represented Richard at his trial, and to Joseph Brooks, who headed the detective division of the Manchester Police Department at the time of Bernice Martin’s murder and Richard Lapointe’s arrest.
6. Click here to hear Bob Perske – A Psychiatrist Persuaded. 1 minute, 33 seconds. February 11, 2008.
Bob Perske describes how Richard won over Dr. Kenneth Selig, a Glastonbury, Conn., psychiatrist who examined him before the hearing on the motion to suppress the confessions Richard signed. Dr. Selig came to believe in his innocence.
7. Click here to hear Bob Perske – Bob’s First Memories of Richard. 4 minutes, 43 seconds. February 11, 2008.
Bob Perske describes how he first met Richard Lapointe during his trial and won Richard’s trust. Bob refers in this clip to Chris Cosgrove and Pat Culligan, the public defenders who represented Richard at his trial, and to Rosita Creamer, the lead prosecutor in the trial.
8. Click here to hear Bob Perske – Guilt Assumed. 46 seconds. February 11, 2008.
Bob Perske describes the attitudes of some of the people he encountered when he began attending Richard Lapointe’s trial in 1992.
9. Click here to hear Bob Perske – A Walker — Not a Runner. 1 minute, 38 seconds. February 11, 2008.
Bob Perske describes how Richard Lapointe, who never learned how to drive a car, has gotten around in the world.
10. Click here to hear Bob Perske – Rare Tears, Frequent Puns. 1 minute, 21 seconds. February 11, 2008.
Richard Lapointe isn’t one to cry a lot, but he is quick with a pun, Bob Perske says.
11. Click here to hear Bob Perske – How Richard’s Bad Memory Hurt Him. February 11, 2008. 3 minutes, 12 seconds.
Dr. Donald Grayson, a psychiatrist, interviewed Richard Lapointe during the court proceedings in his case and later testified as a defense witness at his trial. Dr. Grayson testified that Richard told him that he had been arrested once before in his life, at age 21, when he was intoxicated and walking home from a holiday party at someone’s house. He said his pants were split in the crotch area following a fall and that he was charged with intoxication, breach of the peace, and indecent exposure. Dr. Grayson said no one apparently knew about the arrest before Richard brought it up during their interview. He also said Richard told him he had received a 10-day suspended sentence.
Richard’s statement about the indecent exposure charge had great potential to hurt him in the eyes of the jurors in that he was charged with a horrendous rape-murder. It wasn’t until 1999, seven years after the trial, that Bob Perske obtained Richard’s Hartford Police Department rap sheet, reproduced below, which shows an arrest fitting the description Richard gave Dr. Grayson in a number of respects — but showing no indecent exposure charge. The rap sheet shows that the sole charge filed against Richard was “Intox.”, meaning intoxication, on January 9, 1967, when he was 21 years old. As Richard told Dr. Grayson, he received a 10-day sentence, execution suspended (ES), meaning that he didn’t have to serve jail time, although Bob says in this audio clip that Richard spent the night of his arrest behind bars.
12. George Ducharme tells his story.
Click here to hear George Ducharme, part 1. 25 minutes, 37 seconds. September 30, 2008
Click here to hear George Ducharme, part 2. 13 minutes, 16 seconds. September 30, 2008
George Ducharme, a longtime advocate for people with disabilities, is a retired professor at Manchester Community College who currently serves as volunteer director of the college’s Institute on Disability and Community Inclusion. He is also co-director, with Pat Beeman, of Communitas, Inc., a support organization for people with disabilities. George and Pat were among the first people Bob Perske recruited to support Richard Lapointe during his 1992 trial and have continued to be active supporters and visitors of Richard over the years. In early 2007, when hopes were high that Richard’s second habeas corpus trial would bring him freedom, they spearheaded efforts to plan a support network to aid his re-integration into the community.
Among the people George refers to during this interview, recorded at his MCC office on September 30, 2008, are Bob Perske, Pat Beeman, retired police detective Andy Lefebvre and his wife Florence, Irv and Rosemarie Hargrave, and John Castle, all of whom have been active members of the Friends of Richard Laointe. He also refers to Paul Casteleiro, Richard’s lead lawyer, and Kate Germond, an investigator for Centurion Ministries.
13. Click here to hear George Ducharme – The Brit. 1 minute, 29 seconds. September 30, 2008
George Ducharme tells the story of how Richard Lapointe acquired a friend from overseas.
14. Click here to hear George Ducharme – Support Waiting for Richard. 37 seconds. September 30, 2008
George Ducharme expresses confidence that the Friends of Richard Lapointe will be ready to give Richard the support he needs upon his hoped-for — and expected — release from prison.
Thanks to Alex Wood for creating and submitting these audio clips!
Alex Wood is a reporter for the Journal Inquirer and long time friend of Richard Lapointe. He is the author of the Journal Inquirer’s 5 part analysis of the murder case against Richard A. Lapointe, published from Monday, January 9 through January 13, 1995. To read that series, check out http://friendsofrichardlapointe.com/tainted-justice/. The Journal Inquirer is published afternoons Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings in Manchester, CT, and serves 17 towns in the north-central part of the state, including Enfield, East Hartford, and Vernon. For more info about the Journal Inquirer, visit their website at http://www.journalinquirer.com.