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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial

Hampshire County Courthouse (Collegian File Photo)
Hampshire County Courthouse
(Collegian File Photo)

NORTHAMPTON — Jurors in the Adam Liccardi rape trial heard his voice for the first time Wednesday, as audio of Liccardi refusing to interview with police and instead asking for an attorney was introduced as evidence in Hampshire Superior Court.

The audio recording was played only hours after jurors also read a slew of text messages between Liccardi and his co-defendants, which were sent just days after a University of Massachusetts student said four men raped her in her Pierpont Hall dorm room in 2012.

Liccardi, 21, faces four counts of rape and was charged along with Emmanuel Bile, 21, Justin King, 21 and Caleb Womack, 20, all from Pittsfield. Bile and King have already been convicted and are serving state prison sentences.

Liccardi is accused by the Commonwealth of staying behind after the three other men left the girl’s room on Oct. 13, 2012, and raping her again.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl called UMass police officer Derek Napoli, who was the lead detective on the case, to the stand Wednesday afternoon. Napoli attempted to interview Liccardi in the days after the alleged rape and said the defendant initially agreed to talk.

But upon entering Napoli’s unmarked police vehicle, Liccardi requested he speak to an attorney first, which jurors heard Wednesday. Napoli then asked him further questions, such as his height and weight at the time, before seizing Liccardi’s cell phone for evidence.

Liccardi’s attorney, Alfred Chamberland, asked if Napoli should’ve continued to question his client after Liccardi asked for a lawyer.

“In order to do a thorough job, absolutely,” Napoli said.

UMass police officer Jessie Liptak, who was at the interview and testified Wednesday, said Liccardi “was free to leave if he didn’t want to give us that information.”

Napoli also testified that he interviewed the woman multiple times in the days following the alleged rape. Yet Chamberland doubted Napoli’s process. He asked why Napoli never included that the woman was overly intoxicated in his police report, and why he waited until February 2015, nearly 30 months, to conduct a follow-up interview.

Jurors also read texts, which were presented during testimony by Massachusetts state trooper Gary Darling, all of which came from Bile’s phone. In one text, Bile told King that Liccardi said he “chilled (the woman) out,” and then had sex with her again. Another text by Bile asserted that Liccardi was not comfortable paying the woman, who initially requested $500 from the four men in order to, as she told them, not go to the police.

But Chamberland questioned whether the texts implicated his client. Chamberland said in his opening statements Tuesday that he believed the woman was raped, but only by Bile.

Out of the 78 text messages shown to the jurors, only five pertained to his client, according to Chamberland. He also told Darling, who said there were more than 1,800 pages of  data from cell phones retrieved in the case, that there’s no proof Liccardi ever said those words.

“You didn’t see any messages in the 1,800 pages saying ‘I chilled her out,’” Chamberland told Darling.

Suhl also called Alanna Frederick, a forensic scientist in the DNA unit of the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab, to the stand.  Frederick testified that she tested the woman’s comforter and did not find DNA strands matching Liccardi, and only found positive DNA matches for Bile and Womack.

Liccardi was present in court Wednesday after Tuesday’s afternoon session was cut short when Liccardi said he was experiencing an anxiety attack. Chamberland told Liccardi’s family to go to Cooley Dickinson hospital, and displayed Liccardi’s discharge papers from the hospital prior to Wednesday’s start.

The prosecution is expected to continue its case until Friday. Chamberland said the defense has roughly a day and a half of evidence. According to MassLive, Chamberland will call Liccardi to the stand. The woman, who testified in both Bile’s and King’s trials, is also expected to testify.

The trial will resume Thursday at 9 a.m.

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.  

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