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Christopher Conley of Northampton charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to poison seriously ill daughter



Monday, May 25, 2015
NORTHAMPTON — A city man accused of trying to kill his 7-year-old daughter by poisoning her with Liquid-Plumr allegedly told police Wednesday that he wanted to end her pain because she has a serious illness.

Christopher W. Conley, 32, of 73 Barrett St., Apt. 5155, was ordered held without the right to bail after he pleaded not guilty Thursday in Northampton District Court to charges of attempted murder, assault and battery on a child with substantial injury, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon aggravated by serious injury.

The girl remains in serious condition, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

According to court records, surgeons at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut performed a seven-hour surgery April 17 to remove two thirds of the girl’s small intestine, followed by another surgery to remove part of her bladder, as a result of the poison.

The surgeons told police there was “no good explanation” for the death of her bowel tissue, and said they suspected that someone injected a corrosive fluid into her cecostomy tube, court records state,

A cecostomy tube is a surgically implanted tube with an opening on the abdomen that allows the patient to flush the intestines.

Attempts to reach Conley’s wife, Julie Conley, and his attorney, Mark K. Bluver of Greenfield, were unsuccessful Thursday.

Northampton Police Detective Peter Fappiano III wrote in court documents that when a Massachusetts State Police detective and a detective from the New Haven Police Department interviewed Conley and his wife at the hospital May 6, they both denied any involvement with the condition leading to the girl’s emergency surgery. But in an interview Wednesday at the Northampton Police Department, Christopher Conley told detectives he tried to kill his daughter twice — once in 2009 and again on April 15, the police report states.

Court records do not provide details of the daughter’s illness.

According to the police report, Conley told detectives his daughter was in the intensive care unit at Tufts Medical Center in Boston during March 2009 because of her medical condition. At one point when he was alone in the room, Conley told police, he took out her central line and dipped it in fecal matter before reconnecting it to his daughter.

“When asked what Conley thought this would do, he responded, ‘It would end it for her,’ ” Fappiano wrote in his report.

Fappiano wrote that Conley then told police he was alone at home with his daughter on April 15 when he administered a mixture of Liquid-Plumr and saline into his daughter’s cecostomy tube. Seeing she was in pain, he gave her an injection of an overdose of a liquid painkiller she was prescribed, described as either oxycodone or Vicodin, and then rocked her to sleep, according to court records.

A few hours later, after his wife came home, his daughter was ill so they took her Yale-New Haven Hospital.

“When asked what his intent was,” Fappiano wrote, “Conley replied it was to put (his daughter) out of pain and to kill (her). When asked about the dose of painkiller, he responded in the same manner.”

The Northampton Police Department referred comment on the matter to the Northwestern district attorney’s office. First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne said in an email Thursday he could not comment because the matter was still under investigation.

Judge W. Michael Goggins wrote in court documents that he was ordering Conley held without right to bail because of the nature of the alleged crimes and the potential penalty he will face if convicted.

The case will likely be moved to Hampshire Superior Court because most of the charges are so serious that they are outside of a district court jurisdiction, according to court records.

The maximum sentence for attempted murder is 20 years in state prison; for assault and battery on a child with substantial injury, 15 years; and for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon aggravated by serious injury, 15 years.

Bluver asked in writing to be appointed Conley’s attorney, explaining that Conley has been coming to him for advice about the case since May 7. That’s when Conley started to worry that he was being investigated by police, because police had obtained a search warrant and searched the Conleys’ apartment, Bluver wrote.

Court records indicate that Conley, a native of Ohio, works at L3-KEO, formerly called Kollmorgen Electro-Optical.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.