There is an interesting debate going on in a Massachusetts courtroom over prejudicial evidence in a murder trial. No, it is not pictures of the victims or crime scene. It is the appearance of the defendant himself. You see, Caius Veiovis, 33, had himself implanted with horns and had a satanic tattoo put on his face. Now this defense counsel is understandably concerned that the jury will recoil at the very sight of him. However, there is only so much that a court can do to protect a defendant against his own appearances, particularly when he spent considerable time and money to look satanic.
Veiovis is accused of participating in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of three men: David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell (shown right). Adam Hall, 37, a member of the Hell’s Angels, was convicted in February of first-degree murder and kidnapping, and sentenced to three consecutive life terms, plus 42 years. That should cover any longevity issues in his family.
Veiovis allegedly helped Hall kill Glasser because he was expected to testify against Hall. The other men were killed to allegedly eliminate witnesses to the Glasser killing. A third co-conspirator has also been convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life terms.
Veiovis likely has no good option since, given the gruesome murders, any plea would leave him in prison for life regardless of the deal. He might have concluded that he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by throwing himself on the mercy of the jurors.
That takes us back to Veiovis’ appearance. The court has struggled how to address the initial shock at seeing Veiovis. The judge understandably was reluctant to have a picture of Veiovis shown throughout voir dire since that could raise other prejudicial questions. However, this issue was raised by the defense in how to avoid a shock to the jury members. Moreover, jurors are ordinarily allowed to see the demeanor of the accused not only in testifying but in response to testimony as part of their deliberations.
Veiovis has two rows of bumps on his forehead, a ‘666’ tattoo between them, and other facial and neck tattoos. He even surgically altered the shape of his ears to make them elf-like.
Defense lawyer James Reardon Jr. has quite a challenge there but I cannot see any way that the court will be able to protect Veiovis from his chosen appearance. He went through a great deal of trouble to look Satanic and he succeeded. It is just not the best look when you are trying to establish a presumption of innocence.