Defense attorney goes to the motions in Toolan murder trial — (Cape Cod Times)

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Cape Cod Times

By HILARY RUSS, STAFF WRITER

May 19, 2007

Lawyer Kevin Reddington is exploring all legal avenues prior to the June 4 trial on Nantucket.

NANTUCKET ­ As this little island braces for its first murder trial in two decades, alleged killer Thomas Toolan III has been meeting with psychiatrists while his attorney filed a flurry of motions.

Toolan, a former Manhattan bank executive, is set to go on trial June 4 in Nantucket Superior Court for allegedly knifing and killing Elizabeth Lochtefeld in her island home after she broke off their short love affair in 2004.

After Lochtefeld’s death, Toolan was arrested driving through Rhode Island. When he was pulled over, his speech was thick-tongued, and he showed signs of intoxication, according to court records.

His supposedly drunken, altered state is an element defense attorney Kevin Reddington will try to use to prove to jurors that if Toolan did the crime, he should not be held criminally responsible, according to a memorandum filed yesterday.

Toolan told state police at the time of his arrest that he was taking Zoloft, commonly used to treat depression and anxiety, Clonazepam, used to treat epilepsy, anxiety, panic attacks and other issues, and other medication. He also told police he drank more than four bottles of beer and some vodka, according to court records.

For months, Toolan has been meeting periodically with mental health experts, some of whom are expected to testify during the trial, in Barnstable Superior Court. Although the case is set to be tried on Nantucket, several hearings are being conducted in Barnstable for logistical reasons.

Reddington has already secured a promise of at least $5,000 in public funds to pay Dr. Ronald Ebert, a forensic psychologist with an eight-page resume, to examine Toolan. Two other doctors are on Reddington’s list of experts, so costs could run into the tens of thousands, if the recent murder trial of Christopher McCowen is any gauge.

In that case, three separate experts were paid a total of at least $53,000 to examine McCowen, who was later convicted of raping and murdering Christa Worthington in Truro in 2002.

Reddington also filed several other requests yesterday on how he wants Judge Richard Connon to instruct jurors in the upcoming trial. Earlier this week, he requested that the jury be sequestered, a common move for a high-profile case in a small community.

Finally, Reddington filed another motion this week to review a full Federal Bureau of Investigations audit, as well as internal audits, of the state crime laboratory. The FBI began its probe after Robert Pino, a database administrator, was fired for allegedly mishandling the reporting of DNA matches from sexual assaults, according to published reports.

“They just keep coming up with more and more problems,” Reddington said about the lab’s DNA testing.

Connon will rule on all the motions at a later date.

Hilary Russ can be reached at hruss@capecodonline.com.

 

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Toolan again found guilty of ’04 murder

Cape Cod Times

By HEATHER WYSOCKI

Posted Jun. 21, 2013 at 2:00 AM

It took even less time than at his 2007 trial for a jury Thursday to find Thomas Toolan III guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Elizabeth Lochtefeld on Nantucket on Oct. 25, 2004.BARNSTABLE — It took even less time than at his 2007 trial for a jury Thursday to find Thomas Toolan III guilty of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Elizabeth Lochtefeld on Nantucket on Oct. 25, 2004.

Toolan, 45, a former New York bank executive, was sentenced — for the second time — to life in prison without parole after a nine-day trial that included nearly 50 witnesses and more than 100 pieces of evidence.

He stood emotionless as the verdict was read, turning only for a moment to his parents sitting in a row behind him in Barnstable Superior Court.

Family members of Lochtefeld also were present when the jury announced its decision.

“The scars from that day will never go away. This verdict does not change that,” her sister, Catherine Lochtefeld Sirianni, said in a victim-impact statement prepared by the family. “And they have lost a son and a brother just as surely as we have lost Beth.”

Both families attended every day of the trial and interacted regularly, hugging and shaking hands Thursday before hurrying out a back courtroom door.

The Lochtefeld family’s expression of sympathy for Toolan’s family was also noted by defense attorney Robert Sheketoff.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and very rarely have I had a family like the Lochtefelds. … They have given such comfort to my client’s parents,” he said.

Toolan’s conviction will be automatically appealed to the state Supreme Judicial Court, Cape and Islands First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny said, as are all first-degree murder convictions.

His conviction on a secondary charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, for which Toolan received a nine- to 10-year concurrent sentence, can be appealed to the state appellate court. But, Glenny added, the prosecution believes the trial was conducted “in an appropriate manner.”

After Toolan was tried and convicted in 2007, Judge Richard Connon sentenced him to life in prison. But the Supreme Judicial Court overturned the conviction in 2011 and ordered a new trial, saying Connon did not properly question potential jurors about whether they had been influenced by pretrial publicity.

Toolan’s 2007 trial also had similarities to this trial in defense strategy.

In the first trial, his attorney at the time, Kevin Reddington, argued that Toolan was not criminally responsible, or not legally sane, at the time of the murder. In that case, a jury found Toolan guilty of first-degree murder in just under four hours.

That trial took about 15 days.

Over the course of this trial, jurors listened to dozens of witnesses who chronicled the weekend of Lochtefeld’s murder, from a meeting in New York City, in which Lochtefeld broke up with Toolan, to their final confrontation in which he stabbed her 23 times with a knife he bought after reaching Nantucket.

In their closing statements Thursday, attorneys for the defense and prosecution offered their own interpretations of Toolan’s actions around the time of the murder, with Glenny saying a rage-fueled Toolan hatched and carried out a “single-minded” plan to kill Lochtefeld, 44, and Sheketoff arguing that Toolan’s actions were so irrational they proved he was insane at the time of the murder.

After being dumped, Toolan “retaliated with a brutal, totally out-of-control killing,” Sheketoff said. But he “had serious medical conditions and diseases … and he had a psychotic break.”

But Glenny successfully argued that Toolan certainly had problems with drugs and alcohol but was aware of them and still chose to drink and take pills.

“This is not a situation where he’s suddenly overwhelmed by some irresistible impulse,” he said. “He was certainly able, though he chose not to, conform his behavior to the law.”