DEDHAM — The jury in the case of Emanuel Lopes, the man charged with murdering Weymouth police Sergeant Michael Chesna and 77-year-old Vera Adams in 2018, sent the judge two notes on Monday insisting it was at an impasse, but the judge ordered its members to continue deliberating when they return later this week.
This is Lopes’ second trial for the slayings after a hung jury led to a mistrial in July, and his lawyer asked for the judge to declare another mistrial on Monday.
The first note came shortly after 12:30 p.m. Monday from the jury that had spent more than 11 hours weighing Lopes’ insanity defense to the murder charges: “After careful deliberation and evidence review, we are still at a hung jury. Please advise next steps.”
Norfolk Superior Court Judge Beverly A. Cannone’s response was brief, urging the members to keep trying to come to a conclusion in the case of the killings that rocked the South Shore. “Please continue your deliberations,” she ordered.
About an hour and half of deliberation later, the jury members sent a second note, saying there were “varied viewpoints” among them. “We have still arrived at a hung jury decision,” the jurors wrote, not elaborating on the specifics of their hangup.
Lopes’ defense attorney Larry Tipton moved for a mistrial, but Cannone ruled the jury would take more time to deliberate, returning Wednesday morning after the expected heavy snow forecast for Tuesday.
“This is a very complicated case,” Cannone told the court, noting the multiple experts and 100s of pages of documents on whether Lopes was criminally culpable of the killings.
The jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon.
In July, Cannone declared a mistrial after jurors — selected from Worcester County — deliberated for two weeks but could not reach a unanimous verdict on two counts of first-degree murder. She ordered jurors for the retrial be selected from Bristol County.
On Monday as the court heard the jury’s first note, Chesna’s widow cried quietly, hands clasped in front of her. After Cannone considered the second note later Monday afternoon, Cindy Chesna’s eyes never left Lopes as he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
The courtroom was full of police officers and people close to the two victims.
Prosecutors said on the morning of July 15, 2018, Lopes stole and crashed his girlfriend’s car before fleeing on foot to a nearby neighborhood, Burton Terrace, where he threw a rock through the window of a home around 7 a.m.
As police were searching for Lopes, he was confronted by Chesna, who attempted to take him into custody and ordered Lopes to drop another large stone he was holding. Instead, Lopes allegedly threw the rock at Chesna, striking him in the head, prosecutors said. Lopes then allegedly got a hold of Chesna’s gun, stood over him, and shot him eight times, according to prosecutors.
After shooting Chesna, Lopes allegedly made his way to a nearby neighborhood, where he fired three shots through the window of a home where Adams was, striking her twice.
In his closing argument, Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Greg Connor urged jurors to find Lopes guilty of a total of 11 charges, including first-degree murder in the slayings of both Chesna and Adams. He said after Lopes was taken into custody, he repeatedly said “I’m sorry” while interacting with police and admitted to killing a police officer.
“He can appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions,” Connor told the jury, as he recounted the events of the day. “His life has changed forever, and the lives of Vera Adams and Michael Chesna are over.”
Lopes’ attorney argued his client has a documented history of struggling with mental illness since he was a child, and had been faced with several stressors, including a fight with his girlfriend, that may have sparked his mania leading up to the killings.
“We don’t ask you to set aside or abandon your feelings of humanity and sympathy,” for the families of Chesna and Adams, Tipton said. “All we ask is don’t allow that sympathy to guide your decision.”