Lapointe hearing May 3, 2010

Superior Court Judge John J. Nazzaro began hearing evidence on Monday. The first witness was Michael Ludlow, a retired Manchester police detective who led the investigation into the killing of Bernice Martin.

Martin, the grandmother of Lapointe’s wife, was raped and strangled in her apartment on North Main Street in Manchester the evening of March 8, 1987. Ludlow took notes during the investigation, and one notation caught the eye of Lapointe’s attorneys — that the possible burn time of the fire was 30 to 40 minutes before Lapointe called 911 at 8:27 p.m.

Lapointe’s lawyer, Paul Casteleiro, contends that notation depicts the window of time in which the fire was set, and that Lapointe can be accounted for during that time, giving him an alibi. Ludlow, who now works as a police officer at the University of Connecticut, testified that the note was not the estimated burn time, and that he lacked the expertise to make such an estimate.

Further, he said, he was trying to get a sense of the minimum time the fire was burning so that he could develop a time line of the crime. “That’s ballpark,” he said. “It could have been 15 minutes to two hours. It’s not an exact science.”

Testimony resumes today at Superior Court in Rockville.

Read the article here.