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DNA tie sought in 2004 murder of scientist in Norwich
By Greg Smith
The Norwich Bulletin
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
New London, Conn. —
Two men accused in the 2004 beating death of a New Hampshire scientist await further DNA tests that may or may not link them to the crime.
Gary McAvoy, 46, and Joseph Reilly, 42, are charged with felony murder in the death of 56-year-old Eugene Mallove. Both appeared Tuesday before Judge Susan B. Handy in New London’s Part A court.
Mallove, a Norwich Free Academy graduate and champion of the theoretical alternative energy source of cold fusion, was found on the evening of May 14, 2004, beaten to death outside his childhood home at 119 Salem Turnpike in Norwich. The house, which he was renting, has since been razed to make way for a state highway improvement project.
The case has inched forward as state prosecutors try to gather forensic evidence in an apparent attempt to bolster their case. A probable cause hearing at the onset of the case revealed the state had no such evidence.
Old Saybrook attorney Jeremiah Donovan, who represents Reilly, said he remained skeptical of the evidence, which consists of statements of jailhouse informants and a questionable witness who spotted Reilly driving Mallove’s stolen vehicle.
“I think they can test forever, and they’re not going to find anything to match the defendants,” Donovan said.
Further tests now are planned on pubic hair and fingernail scrapings, Handy said. Since the items are small and will be destroyed by the tests, cameras are present during the tests as a matter of protocol, Donovan said.
The state forensic lab does not have cameras at the moment, Handy said, which will delay the tests.
Attorney William Koch of Lyme, who represents McAvoy, has contacted Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane to rectify the matter.
“This is the last thing that needs to be done,” Handy said.
Narducci Tuesday confirmed reports are now finalized in a previous series of forensic tests performed on pieces of evidence in the case. Those reports, which have not been made public, are to be provided to defense for examination, he said.
Reilly and McAvoy were picked up by New Britain police May 16, 2004, in a vehicle stolen from Groton. Both had admitted to a crack binge during the previous week and committing several burglaries, police said. Norwich police questioned them the night they were arrested in New Britain, but did not charge them until more than a year later.
The men have denied any involvement in Mallove’s death and are serving prison time on unrelated charges.
Norwich police suspect robbery was the motive in Mallove’s killing.
AT A GLANCE
— Gary McAvoy, 46, of Norwich and Joseph Reilly, 42, of Groton are scheduled to return June 19 to court in New London. Both men are charged with felony murder in connection with the May 14, 2004, death of Eugene Mallove.
— Mallove was a science writer, editor and publisher of the magazine Infinite Energy, founder of the nonprofit New Energy Foundation and strong proponent of cold fusion. Mallove taught science journalism at MIT and Boston University and was chief science writer at MIT’s news office. Visit www.infinite-energy.com for more information.
Reach Greg Smith at 425-4219 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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