Wendell man gets life without parole for killing girlfriend in 2017

  • Lewis Starkey III listens to Judge John Agostini sentence him to life without parole Tuesday morning. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Lynette McCreary, mother of Amanda Glover, talks about how her life has been affected by the loss of her daughter. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Amanda Glover’s daughter, Miranda Colombo, left, shows a picture of her mother while Lisa Glover spoke about her sister at a 2017 press conference following the arraignment of Lewis H. Starkey III. STAFF PHOTO/JOSHUA SOLOMON

  • Lewis Starkey III listens to victim impact statements from Amanda Glover’s family members, Tuesday, in Franklin Superior Court in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Erin Moynihan speaks about the loss of her younger sister, Amanda Glover, during sentencing for Lewis Starkey III, Tuesday, in Frankin Superior Court. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Chad Glover, older brother of Amanda Glover, shows the judge samples of her quilting his sister sewed. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Lisa Brandl, sister of Amanda Glover, reads a letter from her young daughter, who wrote that she will miss watching Harry Potter movies, eating chips and seeing her adoring aunt.  STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Franklin County Superior Court Judge John Agostini sentences Lewis Starkey III to life without parole for the murder of Amanda Glover. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/17/2019 12:30:52 AM

GREENFIELD — Lewis H. Starkey III was handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole Tuesday for the 2017 killing of Amanda Glover, in what prosecutors called a “classic” case of domestic violence.

The 55-year-old was also sentenced to 10 to 15 years — to be served after his life sentence — for attempting to murder Amanda Glover’s son, Devin Glover. 

“It is devastating,” Judge John Agostini told Amanda Glover’s family members before giving Starkey the maximum criminal penalty allowed under Massachusetts law.

“Whatever sentence Mr. Starkey gets, you’re getting a life sentence yourselves,” said Agostini, adding that he himself will never forget Starkey’s crimes. 

Starkey killed Amanda Glover, 47, on July 5, 2017, after an argument at the couple’s home at 179 West St. in Wendell. According to prosecutors, Starkey murdered Amanda Glover by shooting her at close range with his 12-gauge shotgun after she told him their relationship was ending. 

Starkey then turned his gun on Devin Glover, 27, who had just witnessed his mother’s death. Devin Glover was able to flee into the surrounding woods where he called the police. 

After killing Amanda Glover, Starkey fled in her car — swapping Amanda Glover’s Vermont license plates for Massachusetts ones in an attempt to evade police. He was wanted for five days, during which he allegedly drove to his place of work in Chicopee and fired at an employee there, injuring the man with flying broken glass.

Orange Police Sgt. James Sullivan — now acting police chief in Orange — pulled Starkey over July 9, 2017, after recognizing the car he was driving, albeit with different plates. Sullivan testified in the Franklin County Superior Court trial that Starkey told the officer, “You got the prize,” before being arrested and booked without incident. 

Starkey is still facing charges of attempted murder in Hampden County Superior Court for the Chicopee incident. 

Victim impact statements

Family members of Amanda Glover had a chance Tuesday to talk about their lost loved one —  giving victim impact statements and asking Agostini to put “the monster,” Starkey, away for life.

Remembered as a loving mother, sister, daughter, aunt and friend, and a passionate quilter, Amanda Glover would have turned 50 next month. 

“The brutal murder of my daughter has left a hole in my life that can never be filled,” said Lynette McCreary, Amanda Glover’s mother. “A parent isn’t supposed to outlive their child.”

McCreary said she has found it hard to do activities like quilting, which she enjoyed doing with her daughter, and that the thought of Amanda Glover’s last moments is stuck in her head. 

“It makes me very angry to think about the last moments of her life,” McCreary said. “This man has not only murdered my baby, but tried to murder my grandson, and then blamed it on him.”

Indeed, Starkey’s defense was that Devin Glover retrieved the shotgun from the home basement after hearing Starkey and Amanda Glover arguing, and pointed it at Starkey. Starkey testified that he wrestled with Devin Glover over the gun, which he said then accidently went off, killing Amanda Glover. 

Chad Glover said he felt a sense of failure, as Amanda Glover’s older brother, that he was not able to protect his little sister. He also took issue with Starkey’s defense argument.

“To pin the murder on the victim’s own son is unconscionable,” he said.

Chad Glover described his sister as “beautiful, artistic and a smart lady,” and held up pieces of quilting his late sister had made. He added that Amanda Glover had been in an abusive relationship in the past, and that her loving nature was manipulated by her abusers. 

“One could argue Amanda was an easy conquest for an abusive mate,” he said. 

Erin Moynihan, Amanda Glover’s sister, said she will always tell people she has four sisters and three brothers, despite Amanda Glover’s death. 

“We will always be eight strong,” Moynihan said. 

“This was such a senseless and cowardly act that left a hole in our hearts where there forever will be a void,” she said. “We’re all angry that she was taken from our family.”

Lisa Brandl, another of Amanda Glover’s sisters, read a letter from her young daughter, who wrote that she will miss watching Harry Potter movies, eating chips and seeing her adoring aunt. 

“We’re all hurting now,” Brandl said. “It’s going to be a very long time before we can heal.”

Judge Agostini

The sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole is mandatory for first-degree murder charges in Massachusetts.

Despite the sentence being prescribed by state law, Agostini still said he found it “appropriate.” Agostini said he spent the weekend thinking about the case, and that he still remembers the haunting 911 call from Devin Glover that he listened to before the case went to trial.

He said he could tell how “desperate” Devin Glover was, hiding in the dark woods without shoes after seeing his mother shot. Agostini said he found it especially devastating that Starkey would put the disabled man — Devin Glover has autism — through that horror. 

Agostini said the last words of Amanda Glover, “What do you think you’re doing with that,” while the much larger Starkey pointed a gun in her face will stay in his mind forever. 

“This was not only a senseless act, but a cowardly act,” Agostini said. “We have another example of domestic violence in our community, in this case to the extreme degree.”

A ‘classic’ case

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl said Starkey showed the “classic” traits of needing “power and control” over his partner in the domestic violence case. 

Suhl prosecuted the case along with First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne, both of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. She said “Mr. Starkey was unwilling to accept” Amanda Glover’s personal choice to end their relationship.

Despite having relatively little forensic evidence in the case — no DNA evidence was shown at trial, for example — Gagne said he is confident the case will hold up in appeal. 

Gagne said other pieces of evidence, like notes Starkey had written while on the run, hiding on back roads and wooded areas of northern Franklin County, were key pieces of evidence. 

“It’s not every day you have the defendant’s handwritten note saying, ‘Why did I do it,’” Gagne said. 

Defense’s thoughts

The jury took less than four hours to deliberate before returning a guilty verdict last Thursday. Defense attorney Michael Sheridan said he was surprised because of the “magnitude of the charges in this case.”

“Our heart goes out to the family, but the short verdict was a surprise to the defense,” Sheridan said. 

Sheridan, who will continue representing Starkey in his trial for the Chicopee incident, said he will not be representing Starkey during his automatic appeal of the conviction.

He added, however, that several pieces of evidence were introduced that will likely be key factors in whether or not Starkey’s conviction is overturned — the evidence from Chicopee being allowed at trial, even though Starkey was not on trial for the Chicopee shooting; Starkey’s “suicide” notes detailing dying suicide-by-cop at the Greenfield Police Department; Starkey’s “alleged confession” to police, which was unclear and inexplicit, although it was not a denial.

Unless his conviction is overturned on appeal, Starkey will serve the rest of life at Massachusetts Correctional Institute-Cedar Junction in Walpole. 

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268. 

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