You are on page 1of 9

The State is entering nolles, effectively ending the

prosecution of this matter today. I will detail the reasons

and factors considered in coming to this decision.
However, by terminating this prosecution today, the State
in no way is declaring Richard Lapointe innocent of the
killing of Bernice Martin, the 88 year old grandmother of
his wife. This is not an exoneration by the State.
Through my review of all of the Court proceedings
that dealt with this prosecution over the past twenty-six
years there never was or has been any allegation that the
police investigation or the prosecution of the defendant
involved misconduct on anyones part.

Despite my

decision to nolle the charges today, it is the States belief,

that the defendant is responsible for the assault and killing

of Bernice Martin. The evidence submitted to a jury led to

such a result, the conviction was based on sound
evidence, and subsequent appellate court decisions do not
change the States view of the evidence.
To the contrary, the States action today is a result of
assessing the evidence it has today and predicting a likely
outcome should this matter go to trial. It is my opinion
that the State would not be able to meet its high burden of
proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
From the onset, I will indicate, the State respectfully
does not share the same opinion of the evidence and the
conclusions drawn that the majority held in the Supreme
Court ruling that effectively vacated the defendants
conviction and remanded the matter to this court for a

new trial.

The State vigorously defended the trial

proceedings in which the defendant was convicted in

1992. Nonetheless, the rulings of the Supreme Court are
binding and the State is now called upon to consider the
remainder of the evidence as it exists today and determine
now how it proceeds in accordance with those rulings.
I have grouped the evidence into three categories.
The first Crime scene evidence and any potential
forensic analysis.
The State needed to assure itself that all of the physical
evidence, suitable for testing was analyzed prior to
making a decision about the future of this prosecution.
Although some items had been tested by defense hired

laboratories over the last several years, some items

remained unanalyzed despite their availability.
I wish to extend an immeasurable degree of gratitude to
the State laboratory for undertaking this task over the past
several months. Their willingness to exhaust all potential
avenues of analysis is appreciated.
The potential for fruitful forensic results was frought
with obstacles and challenges. It was well documented
that several pieces of evidence had been touched by
others, over the past several years, corrupting the viability
of obtaining a reliable result. Another potential piece of
evidence was contaminated by a separate forensic lab
falsely identifying a suspect. Finally, the sheer passage of







identification of DNA material. Here we are dealing with

evidence collected nearly thirty years ago.
The bottom line is, none of the additional analysis
identified Richard Lapointe as a contributor.
Of the items analyzed, at least two and maybe three
additional male profiles were located. We are unable to
identify these profiles and in the States opinion, they do
not paint a picture of a different attacker responsible for
the killing of Bernice Martin. Simply stated, results from
the exhaustive additional analysis do not aid the State in
proceeding further with the prosecution.
The second category of evidence concerns various
things the defendant said or did in the presence of friends
or family members that point to his guilt. Though these

witnesses testified at trial in 1992, a majority of the

witnesses are now unavailable. The impact of a written
transcript would significantly affect the strength of the
States case and quite frankly, this evidence does not
directly connect the defendant to the offense.
The final category of the States evidence concerns
all statements the defendant made to law enforcement,
which ultimately, the State would concede, were pivotal
in the conviction of Richad Lapointe.
The defendant confessed to sexually assaulting and
killing Bernice Martin and then starting a fire in her
apartment to destroy evidence of the crime.


evidence most certainly played a large role in the

defendants conviction.

Although the Supreme Court in its latest ruling did








admissibility of the defendants statements, the recent

ruling casts doubt and concerns upon the reliability or
trustworthiness of the statements. Regardless of whether
I share this opinion, the net result of this new
characterization by the Supreme Court clearly diminishes
the probative impact of the defendants statements to the
police. As such, in moving forward the State recognizes







enforcement and conclude that they would have a

diminished effect on the trier of fact even if they were
deemed admissible at trial.

In all candor, the progression of this case that

ultimately brought the matter to me is absolutely
extraordinary. My task in assessing the evidence, and
additionally how it was remanded for a new trial has been
extremely challenging. At this time, there is simply no
reason to restate that circumstances of the crimes
committed upon Bernice Martin.

However, I had the

opportunity to speak with several grandchildren of Mrs.


They are understandably frustrated with the

outcome today, yet they have been nothing but gracious

and understanding of the situation.
In short, I know what my obligations are as a
prosecutor. The evidence that the State has today causes
me to conclude that the State cannot meet its burden of

proof if we were to proceed to trial. The charges the

defendant faces are nolled.