SJC Single Justice Denies Killers' Fourth Bid For New Trial
Dennis Daye, Richard Costa, and Michael DeNictolis shot Robert and Patricia Paglia to death in their home on January 6, 1985. They were convicted of first degree murder by a Salem Superior Court jury on July 25, 1987, after a five-week trial, and sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
At trial, there was testimony from an FBI Agent connecting a bullet taken from one of the victims to a bullet found in the basement of Costa's home in Rye, NH. In their motion, the defendants contended that the science of bullet lead analysis has changed in the last two decades, and that an expert testifying today would not be able to link the two bullets.
Justice Greaney, however, said that there was substantial other evidence proving their guilt. He therefore rejected the defendants' claim, finding that their motion failed to cast real doubt on the justice of their convictions.
The Commonwealth was represented on appeal by Essex Assistant District Attorney Kenneth E. Steinfield, and earlier in the trial court proceedings by former Essex Assistant District Attorney Gregory I. Massing.
The case was prosecuted in 1987 by now Judge Howard J. Whitehead.