Killam Analysis written by Hank Aamsden and retired US Army Colonel Forest Rittgers
ANALYSIS OF THE KILLAM DECISION
On January 30, 1979, Elaine Tyree, an Army soldier stationed at Fort Devens, MA, was
murdered at her off base apartment in nearby Ayer. Two weeks later, William Tyree (her
husband) and Erik Aarhus, both Fort Devens soldiers, were arrested and charged in
connection with the murder. In early April, a hearing was conducted in Ayer District
Court by Special Judge James W. Killam, III to determine if there was probable cause to
try Aarhus and Tyree. Unlike a Grand Jury proceeding, this hearing permitted
participation by both prosecution and defense counsel, with Judge Killam functioning as
both judge and jury. During a period of over a month, some 35 witnesses testified and
were questioned by both counsel and the judge. On May 15, 1979, Judge Killam
announced his decision. The same day, the results of a secretly conducted Grand Jury
were announced by the Middlesex County District Attorney. Because the 2 proceedings
reached diametrically opposite conclusions, that disconnect was then and continues to be
the subject of significant controversy.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the following decision of Judge Killam at the
conclusion of the Probable Cause Hearing:
First Northern Middlesex Division
Erik V. Aarhus
William M. Tyree, Jr.
Case No-271-272-273 of 1979
308 & 367
D E C I S I O N
That the evidence ought to be taken in the light most favorable to the prosecution
and that ordinary questions of credibility ought not to be resolved in the usual
probable cause hearing appears to be settled law. However, the appearance of the
alleged murder weapon with the blood of the victim still on it, preserved in two
plastic bags, and found under the barracks-cot pillow of the defendant (Aarhus)
charged with the deed; which barracks are vulnerable to daily inspections would
strain the credibility of even the most gullible. The enlightened suspicion of “Frame”
The defendant Tyree had two “best friends.” First, Staff Sgt. Menzie had nothing
but concern for Tyree and his wife Elaine, to the extent Staff Sgt. Menzie all but
forced Tyree to go through with a listing of suspects and circumstances. These, Tyree
failed to produce. Second, Special 4, Earl Michael Peters, a regular visitor at the
Tyree apartment had the confidence of William Tyree and his intimate knowledge of
the Tyree home and habits together with his probable involvement with Tyree in
various illegal activities suggests his involvement in the homicide. This same intimacy
tends to explain Tyree’s apparently accurate grasp of the events surrounding his
wife[‘]s death. Peters’ obvious guile and Tyree’s apparent intellectual deficiency (as
adduced from the testimony of most witnesses) lead more believably toward Peters’
leading and Tyree’s following in various disclosures and discoveries subsequent to the
I feel compelled to comment upon three pieces of demonstrative evidence which I
believe to have been manufactured to bolster a marginally credible proposition in
sequence of events. These are the three hand receipts, two for Peters’ Remington
1100 autoloading shotgun and one for defendant Aarhus’ Buck 105 “pathfinder”
sheath-type, hunting knife. The customarily entered serial number of the shotgun
was not entered on the receipts which conveniently turned up in the arms room trash
can which conveniently had not been emptied in two weeks preceding a government
interview with the armorer. The receipt for Aarhus’ hunting knife is dated on a day
in December of 1978 when there is no record of entry into the arms room and which
emerged from the hip pocket of the armorer during his testimony on the witness
In view of the foregoing, together with and after complete hearing of all the
evidence, all parties being represented by counsel and with full opportunity to be
heard and to examine witnesses, I make the following determinations and orders:
I. Pvt. William Tyree. Probable cause found and complaints of process to
issue if not already issued.
- Accessory after the fact of murder
- Conspiracy with Earl Michael Peters to obstruct Justice
- Obstruction of Justice
II. Pvt. Erik V. Aarhus, Probable cause found and complaint and process to
issue if not already issued.
- Accessory before the fact of Murder
- Murder in the first degree
- Conspiracy with Earl Michael Peters to murder Elaine Tyree
III. Spec. 4, Earl Michael Peters. I hereby order Chief William Adamson, Sr.
or his designee to execute the following complaints against Earl Michael
Peters, without further obligation as a result of this order and I hereby
order Warren Birch, Esq., Clerk, or his designee to issue process as a
result thereof against the said Earl Michael Peters.
- Accessory before the fact of murder
- Accessory after the fact of murder
- Conspiracy with Erik V. Aarhus to murder
- Murder of Elaine Tyree in the first degree
- Conspiracy with William Tyree to obstruct justice
- Obstruction of justice
IV. No probable cause found on complaints not enumerated.
I further hereby decline jurisdiction of any charges otherwise appropriate to the
District Court Department and further hereby notify any and all defendants of
their right to waive indictment and to proceed to trial upon the foregoing
May 15, 1979
James W. Killam, III
James W. Killam, III
I. The Knife
Late on February 13, 1979, 2 weeks after the murder of Elaine Tyree, William Tyree and
his friend, Sgt. Michael Menzie, called the Ayer P.D., informing them that the murder
weapon may be found in the on-base room of Erik Aarhus, another Special Forces soldier.
Someone (denied by Tyree to be himself) soon came to believe that the weapon, a knife,
was to be found under Aarhus’ pillow.
Hours later, Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Special Agent Paul Mason and others
entered Aarhus’ room, Mason picked up the pillow on Aarhus’ bed and found a knife
wrapped in one or two plastic bags. The knife clearly belonged to Aarhus and had blood
thereon matching the blood type of Elaine (no DNA analysis was then available nor
Aarhus was quickly arrested, brought to Fort Devens CID Headquarters at the time Tyree,
also at that office, was hand-writing a statement, claiming that he had approached Aarhus
at lunch and offered him $5,000 for the return of the knife. According to that statement,
Aarhus at lunch had neither denied nor affirmed guilt in the murder but had indicated that
he would attempt retrieval of the knife in return for the proffered money.
In his order of May 15, 1979, Judge Killam first approached the discovery of the bloody
knife and declared a core improbability, based on the above facts:
He wrote, “The enlightened suspicion of ‘frame’ is inescapable.”
What are the probabilities for a young Special Forces soldier, trained in the arts of bodily
offense and defense to:
- Retain for 2 weeks a severely soiled knife?
- Retain for 2 weeks a knife soiled with blood?
- Retain for 2 weeks a knife soiled with human blood?
- Retain for 2 weeks a knife soiled with the blood of a victim
who was murdered by the owner of the knife?
- Store that knife in an open, insecure area, subject to random discovery?
- Do any of these things while the knife’s owner is a ‘person of interest’
in a murder investigation by military and civilian authorities?
Moreover, Judge Killam was also informed by State Policeman John Dwyer 2 months after
the recovery of the knife that it did not have on it the fingerprints of Erik Aarhus. No
further inquiry has ever been made by any party as to whether other prints were found on
Judge Killam was also directly informed that, at the time of the knife’s discovery, William
Tyree was acting as an asset, an informer and cooperating agent for the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts and U.S. Army.
We also know, from available records, that Erik Aarhus was a convicted perjurer through a
recent military Article 15 proceeding and that Judge Killam, during a reading of the
alleged ‘confession’ of Aarhus (read in court by the Ayer Police Chief), heard Aarhus
directly perjure himself during that late evening interrogation at CID headquarters.
From transcript testimony, we know that Judge Killam was aware that CID Agent Joseph
Burzynski, during a telephone request to Base Commander, Colonel Forest S. Rittgers, Jr.,
had advanced the credibility of William Tyree in order to convince Colonel Rittgers to
grant oral authority to search the Aarhus room.
We know that Judge Killam heard testimony that the credibility of William Tyree,
supporting the knife search, was abandoned by investigators a few hours later in favor of
the statement of Erik Aarhus that Tyree had offered the $5,000 before the murder,
soliciting Aarhus to perform the deed.
We know that Judge Killam found it difficult to comprehend the following simple
If William Tyree had offered to pay Aarhus to kill his wife,
why would Tyree have brought about the arrest of Aarhus for the same crime?
II. Menzie Testimony
On April 5, 1979, Commonwealth of Massachusetts prosecuting attorney Dante
DeMichaelis called his first witness of the day, Sergeant Michael Menzie, the same friend
of Tyree who had jointly notified the Ayer Police on February 13 as to the location of the
Menzie testified that William Tyree, in a January 28 telephone conversation with him, had
been adamant about sending Elaine and daughter Dawn to Utah, the home of the Tyree’s
parents, as soon as Elaine was discharged a few days later, on February 2. Since William
Tyree would remain on active duty, this would mean separation for the family of three.
Elaine and Menzie were opposed to this change of events, and the acrimony between Tyree
and Menzie resulted in a harsh telephone disconnect.
Later on that evening, Menzie and his girlfriend, Nancy Woodland, visited the Tyrees and
found Elaine “smiling” since the Utah trip was now off and “she could stay.”
Up to this point, the course of Menzie’s direct examination by the prosecution had been
crafted to show that the Tyree marriage was unstable and that this state, if confirmed by
Menzie, would support the Commonwealth claim of Tyree’s guilt. DeMichaelis’ direct
examination began to elicit statements from Menzie which moved away from the intent of
the prosecution (The relevant time for the following exchange is Sunday, Jan. 28, in the
“WITNESS [Menzie]: [Tyree] had problems. He said on Sunday, January 28, that
somebody would try and get him, and the only way that they could get him was
through Elaine and the baby. At the time, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was just –
Q [DeMichaelis] Well, just tell us—“
MR. [Bernard] BRADLEY: May he be allowed to finish?
COURT [Judge Killam] Finish the answer.
WITNESS: I didn’t believe him. I thought he was making a mountain out of a
molehill. He said he wanted get Elaine out of the area…”.
“Q [DeMichaelis] Had he ever expressed to you a fear for her and the child
Before that time, that day?
COMMONWEALTH v. AARHUS & TYREE
PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING, Ayer, MA.,
Day 3, April 5, 1979
James W. Killam, III, J., presiding
P. 12, L. 10-22; P. 13, L. 17-19
Later that day, on a redirect examination of Menzie by DeMichaelis, the course of the trial
was altered, never to be fully returned to its former direction:
“Q [DeMichaelis] …After Tyree was arrested, have you been
in communication with him at all?”
A [Menzie] Yes.
Q How many times would you say that you have been in
communication with him, or that he has been in
communication with you?
A. He called me five times, and he wrote me three letters.
Q Do you know where those letters are?
Day 3, P. 168, L. 5-14
At that point in time, virtually no writings of Tyree had been made available to the Court
or the Commonwealth other than the “1833 [18:33 hours – 6:33 P.M.]” hand written
statement which he wrote in CID headquarters on the evening of February 13. The fact
that mention of post February 13 writings of Tyree existed came at the expense of the
prosecution counsel – once the letters were mentioned, it was only a question of time
before SOMEONE (including the Court) would want to see them. The letters later became
Exhibits in the Court record and copies have been retrieved from the Public Defender file.
The subject of the “three letters” sent by Tyree to Michael Menzie and Nancy Woodland in
March, 1979 permeates later hearings which followed their first mention on the afternoon
of Day 3, April 5, 1979. But first, it is imperative to review the previous 2 days and the
testimony of Michael Menzie on Day 3 before lunch. We must also recall that neither
Tyree nor Aarhus testified in the Probable Cause hearings (1979) or their respective
Superior Court trials (February, 1980).
On Day 1 and 2 (April 3-4), Earl Peters testified extensively, consuming some 150
transcript pages. A review of his testimony fully describes the issue of a ‘shotgun’ but
fails to reveal any reference to his admission of corporate criminal activity with Tyree.
However, during Day 3, Michael Menzie, before lunch, testified to his knowledge of
extensive joint criminal activity of both Peters and Tyree without specifically citing that
this knowledge resulted from a written source of this information, i.e., letters received from
Tyree, after February 13, the day of his arrest, and before the end of March.
But the entire case against Tyree, to date, is predicated on the truthfulness of ERIK
AARHUS, in whom the Commonwealth CONTINUES TO BELIEVE and the concurrent
position of the Commonwealth NOT TO BELIEVE TYREE and his description of the
approach to Aarhus on February 13, 2 weeks AFTER THE MURDER rather than an ill-
defined point in time, indicated by Aarhus, BEFORE THE CRIME. Moreover, it is clear
that the alleged confession of Aarhus and his subsequent arrest could not have take place
unless military and civilian authorities had BELIEVED TYREE’S accusations regarding
the location of the murder weapon in the room of Aarhus.
Moreover, the Commonwealth must consider the future possibility of having Peters, the
government’s chief witness against Tyree, testify once again and risk having him confirm
that they now BELIEVE MENZIE and, we must assume, NOW BELIEVE what TYREE
has told (or written to) Menzie.
DeMichaelis, for the Commonwealth, laboriously extracted testimony (some 160 pages)
from Menzie during the morning, much of which was arguably favorable to Tyree and the
“[Tyree] told [unnamed friends of Tyree] them to call the MPs
and have them check out Aarhus.”
Day 3; P. 43, L. 6-7
This will not do for the prosecution since it prefers to show that Tyree had asked Aarhus to
Tension began to increase before the bench when DeMichaelis was unsuccessful in
extracting the desired answer from Menzie (we never learned what was the question was or
the answer – the desired answer apparently resided in a note which DeMichaelis had taken
down while interviewing Menzie at a police station).
There’s legal problem with an attorney producing his own notes and the defense quickly
pounced. This error on the part of DeMichaelis can lead to awkward, career-hindering
explanations to the D.A.:
“MR. BRADLEY: Mr. DeMichaelis apparently put himself in a position of being
a witness at some police station somewhere, and he has the right
to be either the District Attorney and prosecute this case, or be a
Day 3; P. 71, L. 5-14
Judge Killam, after much inter-counsel bickering, disposed of the question by limiting
DeMichaelis to further oral examination of Menzie.
Continuing, DeMichaelis’ suspicions regarding the involvement of Tyree brought another
unexpected statement from Menzie:
“THE WITNESS [Menzie] …[Tyree] was convinced that the murderer got out of
the window, and the reason why is that he said he had
seen, he said it was a GI that done it because of the type
of sole that the military uses. It’s got like a waffle effect,
and just so happens there was snow out on the ground…”.
Day 3; P. 77, L. 5-11
Readers of Day 1 and 2 will learn, from Earl Peters (no less) that sufficient snow fell
during the January 29-30 night to require him to plow snow. Further inquiries will show
that the Ayer Police made no reported written examination of ANY footprints found
outside of the Tyree bedroom window, in spite of their knowledge that the relevant
window was closed when the first policeman entered the building but that the screen from
the same window now lay on snow-covered ground when the police chief arrived, minutes
Finally, DeMichaelis successfully gained the response to which his efforts were focused:
“Q [DeMichaelis] What did he tell you in reference to what he meant about
what he had been doing?
A [Menzie] He told me that he was committing breaking and entering
Involved with another person that was, you know, I believe
also that person was transporting.”
Day 3: P. 101, L. 23; P.102, L. 2-6
This begins to establish the point toward which the Commonwealth had been driving:
If Tyree has any record, merely alleged, of criminal activity,
such is an excellent point to put before the jury.
But the word “letters” has not yet appeared in the transcript.
During the lunch break, DeMichaelis learned from Menzie that Tyree had been involved in
a series of breaking, entering and theft adventures with Earl Peters, mostly in the general
Ayer area and during 1978. But all this had taken place before the statement previously
“A [Menzie] [Tyree] called me five times and wrote me three letters.”
Post luncheon break, April 5, 1979; Day 3; P. 168, L. 14
What appears to lay readers is the following apparent error of DeMichaelis:
DeMichaelis, delighted to have a means of reversing Menzie’s morning testimony, much
of it favorable to Tyree, quickly sought to elicit from Menzie substantiation of the
Peters/Tyree criminal activity. There is nothing malicious in this effort – it is merely
acceptable trial practice, available to defense and prosecution alike.
But the letters, IF BELIEVED, will confirm what both Peters (Day 2)
and Menzie (Day 3, before lunch) have testified about a shotgun-
The letters, IF BELIEVED, will exculpate Erik Aarhus from the murder of Elaine Tyree-
The letters, IF BELIEVED, will inculpate Earl Michael Peters, primary witness
for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the murder of Elaine Tyree.
The transcript shows that “the letters” will evidently play a part in the ultimate view of
Judge James Killam regarding
“…the credibility of [Earl] Michael Peters.”
Day 3: P. 113, L. 4-5
Returning to the morning of Day 3, April 5, 1979, DeMichaelis (for the Commonwealth),
Spadafora (for Aarhus) and Bradley (for Tyree) examined Menzie for some 160 pages.
During a long morning session, after DeMichaelis had concluded his direct examination of
Menzie, Spadafora (for Aarhus), on cross-examination, asked Menzie what Tyree and
Peters had been “transporting”, referencing various alleged joint criminal activities cited
earlier by Menzie:
“Q [Spadafora] Transporting what?
A. [Menzie] Stolen goods, and a lot of things.”
Day 3; P. 102, L. 7-8
Follow-ups to open-ended responses, such as “a lot of things,” are dangerous; such can be
a horn of plenty or a cruel trap for unwary interrogators. Spadafora plunged ahead:
“Q What other things?
A. Let me refresh my memory. I’ve got it written down at home,
but I haven’t reviewed it, I haven’t checked it out. But, most
of this I’ve got written down is stuff that I got from Bill Tyree.
Q Directly? Did he give it to you directly?
A Through the mail, yes.”
Day 3; P. 103, L. 11-18
Even ordinary lay folks cannot fail to see that a subtle change in the Tyree/Aarhus
proceedings has just taken place. Menzie’s entire testimony, some of it supportive of
Tyree, some contrary to Tyree’s penal interest, is clearly what most of us call ‘hearsay’,
i.e., what one person said that another person said. Although William Tyree is sitting
there, in the presence of Spadafora, DeMichaelis AND…the jury (in this case Judge James
W. Killam), he, through counsel, has decided not to testify. No one can ask him whether
the ‘hearsay’ of Menzie accurately describes his former communications with Menzie.
Presumably, both Spadafora and Bradley (for Tyree) can attack Menzie’s prior testimony,
terming his responses as ‘hearsay’ if they see elements therein harmful to their clients.
But…what if the recollections of Menzie, already on the record, are derived, at least in
part, from written communications of Tyree to Menzie AFTER HIS ARREST? To date,
the court has absolutely nothing in writing by Tyree produced by him after February 13,
nothing but his oral
“MR. TYREE: I do, your Honor.
Day 1, April 3, 1979; P. 8, L. 23
in response to Judge Killam’s query:
COURT: Mr. Tyree, do you want your attorney to represent you?”
ibid., L. 21-22
Although Tyree will remain silent throughout the Probable Cause hearings, what course
will that proceeding take if he is allowed to speak through his writings on pieces of paper
in the possession of his friend, Michael Menzie? If no one questions their authenticity,
questions regarding THE CREDIBILITY OF WILLIAM TYREE will enter again, through
his written statements, into the matter of the murder of Elaine Tyree.
At this point, shortly before the lunch break, it does not appear that DeMichaelis (for the
Commonwealth) was aware that Menzie’s testimony (his witness) was, in part, based on
the post-arrest writings of William Tyree, writings which were in the possession of
Menzie. Much less did he realize that these writings are extant.
In the hearings to come, through the superior court pre-trial hearings and trial hearings in
1980, a simple observation can be easily overlooked:
All parties, including the Commonwealth, conceded that TYREE WAS NOT AT THE
CRIME SCENE at the time of Elaine’s murder and cannot be charged with the physical
Similarly, all parties agreed that NO FORENSIC EVIDENCE whatsoever was FOUND
AT THE TYREE APARTMENT WHICH COULD CONNECT ERIK AARHUS with the
killing; this, in spite of some 3 weeks unauthorized access to the apartment by authorities.
More importantly, 2 WITNESS STATEMENTS (not available to the Probable Cause
court) will cite the appearance of ONE OR MORE PARTIES, near the crime scene, at the
relevant time, ONE OF WHICH WAS CLEARLY NOT ERIK AARHUS; THE OTHER
IDENTIFIED AS EARL MICHAEL PETERS.
The only piece of forensic evidence, arguably connecting Aarhus with the murder, is the
“TYPE-B” blood found on his knife. Apparently, some 2 % of the general population has
this blood type and, without DNA analysis (never performed in the intervening 35 years),
an informed prosecutor might well be reluctant to proceed against Erik Aarhus, absent
more compelling evidence. Worse still, no fingerprints of Aarhus (despite some 2 months
after possession by the Commonwealth) could be found on the knife or on a plastic bag
(from a delicatessen) which contained the knife at its discovery. Nor, were attempts made
to pursue the origin of the plastic bag (which had an identifying tag thereon).
Both Tyree and Aarhus spoke on the evening of February 13:
- Tyree, first, in his “1833” statement,
- Aarhus, later, during his lengthy transcribed confession.
and, as of April 5, neither have otherwise spoken to date.
First, on February 13, Tyree stated that he spoke to Aarhus EARLIER IN THAT DAY,
and offered $5,000 for the return of the knife.
Second, later on February 13, Aarhus stated that Tyree had offered the same sum, AT
SOME TIME PRIOR TO THE MURDER, to kill his wife.
TYREE’S EARLY-AFTERNOON STATEMENTS regarding the availability of the knife,
re-stated in the “1833” written document, WERE BELIEVED BY THE AUTHORITIES.
Burzynski’s appeal to Colonel Rittgers for authority to search the Aarhus room was
grounded on HIS BELIEF IN TYREE’S CREDIBILITY.
Colonel Rittgers, after personal assessment of Burzynski’s telephonic request and HIS
PRESUMPTIVE BELIEF IN BURZYNSKI’S AND TYREE’S CREDIBILITY, granted
oral authority to search the Aarhus room.
The subsequent discovery of the knife by military and civilian authorities, pursuant to
Tyree and Menzie’s oral report, CONFIRMED THE CREDIBILITY OF TYREE.
Reasonable lay observers might well query:
How did it come about that, SOME 4 HOURS AFTER DISCOVERY OF THE KNIFE,
authorities abruptly decided to NOW DISBELIEVE TYREE WHOSE CREDIBILITY
HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AND NOW BELIEVE AARHUS, WHOSE CREDIBILITY
HAS BEEN FOUND LEGALLY DEFECTIVE and who demonstrated the same by openly
lying to his interrogators earlier in his lengthy examination?
The fate of William Tyree and Erik Aarhus now lies principally in the issue of
The CREDIBILITY OF EARL PETERS, the best friend of Tyree and the chief witness for
the Commonwealth against Tyree, is about to be revealed, both in Peters’ and Menzie’s
prior testimony and the written statements of William Tyree, found in the mysterious
letters cited by Menzie.
IV. Menzie Testimony (Continued)
Returning to late morning, Day 3, April, 5, 1979 and a break in the long and grueling
examinations of Sergeant Michael Menzie, Tyree family friend. When the court resumed
at 2:30 (after a lunch break) the record shows that it is only Menzie who has been
testifying for several hours. It has also become clear that Menzie was acquainted with
Tyree well before his marriage to Elaine, continued the joint acquaintance until the time of
Tyree’s arrest and may have met him in prison since that time. DeMichaelis continued a
redirect of Menzie, commenced before lunch:
“Q… After Tyree was arrested, have you been in communication with him at all
Q How many times would you say that you have been in communication
with him, or that he has been in communication with you?
A He called me five times, and he wrote me three letters.”
P. 168; L. 5-12
Up to this point, DeMichaelis appears to have strictly relied on Menzie’s oral recollections
and, apparently, in his private discussions with him, never asked if there were any writings
by Tyree. He now proceeds beyond the ‘point of no return.’
“Q Do you know where those letters are?
P. 168; L. 13-14
Strangely, Tyree’s public defender (Bradley) sounds worried, concerned:
“MR. BRADLEY: Is this a proper matter for redirect examination? Shouldn’t
it have been brought up —something like that was brought up in cross
examination by Your Honor.
MR. DE MICHAELIS:” This is as a result of conversation I had at lunch time
with the witness, your Honor.”
P. 168; L. 15-21
But, we shall soon see that it is DeMichaelis, the prosecuting attorney, who has made the
fatal error, not Bradley. But first the Court, essentially, makes a ruling:
“THE COURT [Killam]: I’m afraid that it was brought up; I’m not sure if it was
direct or cross, and it had to do with the writings that
the witness has with regard to the involvement in
allegedly criminal activity. I’ll allow it.”
P. 168; L. 22-23; P. 169: L. 2-4
DeMichaelis has been able to elicit oral testimony from Menzie portraying Tyree as party
to several thefts and other legally indefensible conduct. This might otherwise support
Peters’ accusation against Tyree (regarding his alleged wish to see Elaine dead) but
Tyree’s ‘instigator’ (according to Menzie, under cross-examination by Spadafora) was
Peters, DeMichaelis’ prize witness. Worse still, DeMichaelis has heard cross-examination
of Menzie which might prove deadly to the credibility of Earl Peters. Arguably, he might
still foresee the prospective leisure of destroying the credibility of Menzie, through faulty
recollections, other witnesses or finding a means of impeaching Menzie.
There’s a problem with impeaching one’s own witness
and the defense had pounced on it, as mentioned above.
If DeMichaelis needs to impeach Menzie, an imperative as the hearing progresses, he will
have to abandon his role as an attorney and become a witness, on the stand, against his
own former witness. Prosecuting attorneys who are forced to take the stand against their
own witness might find the experience a threat to one’s career. Cross-examination of a
prosecuting attorney found in this position could prove brutal to the government’s position.
The testimony (especially the contentious bench conferences and persistent objections of
DeMichaelis to Menzie’s testimony, his witness, Day 3) and the content of the letters point
to the ‘fatal error’ made by DeMichaelis.
The posture of defense counsel (Public Defender Bradley for Tyree; private counsel
Spadafora [who owned, at one time, a night club] appearing as publicly funded counsel for
Aarhus) suggests that neither attorney would have called Michael Menzie as a defense
DeMichaelis necessarily had spent time interviewing Menzie before the Day 3 hearing
since he was called as the Commonwealth’s witness and was directly examined. The
transcripts show that, under DIRECT examination, Menzie cited Tyree’s involvement in
criminal activity and that some of his recollections of the Tyrees tended to show rough
spots in their year-old marriage. Thus far, the testimony of a close friend of the Tyrees,
Peters, would arguably support his claims (Day 1 and 2) that Tyree had asked him to kill
Subsequent events illustrate the failure of DeMichaelis to fully acquaint himself with
Menzie and the Menzie-Tyree relationship, who, under CROSS-examination told the
- Tyree had a partner in the enumerated criminal acts known to Menzie:
“Q [Spadafora] Now Sergeant, do you know, or did Mr. Tyree relate to you that there were
different people, or the same person involved in all of these instances?”
A [Menzie] He related one person.
Q Who was that person?
A Michael Peters.”
Day 3, April 5, 1979; P. 107; L. 11-17
- Tyree was not the leader in the criminal activity:
“Q Did Mr. Tyree say to you that Michael Peters was his partner in all of these various
and sundry crimes?
A Michael Peters was the instigator.”
P. 107; L. 18-21
- Elaine Tyree was aware of the foregoing, both that of Tyree’s participation and that of
“Q Do you know of your own accord, if Mrs. Tyree knew that Michael Peters
was the man involved with her husband?”
At this point, DeMichaelis has heard enough. Why defense counsel had not objected
during the direct examination to comparable claims (unfavorable to Tyree) by Menzie, is
“MR. DE MICHAELIS: I move to strike until we know how he knows that she knew.
THE WITNESS: On many occasion[s] she had told me.
MR. SPADAFORA: Wait a minute, I’ll just ask that question.
Q How did you know that Elaine knew that Michael Peters was her husband’s partner?
A On many occasion[s], she told me that she didn’t like Mike Peters. She didn’t like
Mike Peters around the house, they had had many a fight, and arguments because of
Mike Peters. Most of their problems, as their marriage went, was through mike Peters.
I know this for a fact.”
P. 107; L. 22 – P. 108; l. 18
The cross-examination of Michael Menzie on Day 3 (April, 5, 1979) yielded information
regarding Earl Peters highly unfavorable to DeMichaelis and the intent of the government
to employ Peters as the chief witness against Tyree. The animus of Peters for Elaine Tyree
was clearly stated by Menzie:
- “…She didn’t like Mike Peters. She didn’t like Peters around the house,
they had many a fight, and arguments because of Mike Peters. Most of
their problems, as their marriage went, were through Mike Peters.”
P. 108; L. 14-18
An affidavit given some 4 years later by the Tyree landlord, Mr. Francis
Gardner, supports Menzie’s testimony:
“…Peters, whom Elaine Tyree objected to very strongly and had moved
from 24 Columbus St. to break up her husband[‘]s association with Peters.”
From the foregoing it appears that Gardner, one not intimately
related to the Tyrees, was aware of the animus, well before Elaine’s murder.
Subsequent testimony of Menzie (on Day 5) fully amplified what he (Menzie) had stated
“[He] kn[e]w for a fact.”
P. 108; L.18
“Q [Spadafora] Well, what did [Elaine] say to you concerning Mike Peters?
A [Menzie] She didn’t like him. She didn’t want him around the house. She didn’t
trust him. He was cause for the problems between her and Bill. Just in
general, that there was a great dislike between the two of them.
Day 3; P. 109; L. 3-9
- Menzie’s testimony moved inexorably to a graver level – physical threats of Peters
“Q Of your knowledge, had they had many fights between the two of them?
Q Between Elaine Tyree and Michael Peters, and they fought amongst one another?
A I was not there.
Q Well, do you know of your own knowledge? Did she tell you?
A That Saturday before, they had one.
Q Did she tell you that she had had more than one fight with Mr. Peters?
P. 109; L. 13-P. 110; L. 2
“Q Did Bill tell you specifically that Peters had threatened her with Physical harm?
A Yes.” P. 111; L. 2-4
Late in the afternoon of Day 3 (April 5, 1979), it was now Bradley (for Tyree) who began
to look inside the doors which began to open in Michael Menzie’s testimony.
- Earl Peters had motives for seeing Elaine Tyree removed from this life:
“Q [Bradley] Most important, I guess, in the letter that you received from Bill Tyree,
you say that in one of those letters, Mr. Tyree gave you a reason why
Peters might like to see his wife dead: Did you?
MR. DEMICHAELIS: Objection.
THE COURT: Overruled.
Q Would you tell us, please?
A It was a number of reasons. Like I said before, it was about 15 or 20 reasons.”
P. 181; L. 22-P. 182: 2-10 (underlining added)
At this point, Menzie cites a certain instance of the criminal conduct in which Peters and
Tyree had participated, breaking and entering a state park. The incident focuses on the
violent manner in which Peters reacted when later identified by an observer of the incident.
After objections by DeMichaelis, Bradley queried:
‘Q [Bradley] Go ahead, Sergeant.
A [Menzie] He said that Peters was transporting drugs from down there up here.”
P. 185; L. 9-11
- Menzie had also cited his recollections regarding threats by Peters against Elaine.
“Q [Spadafora] Do you know from another source that Mr. Peters had ever threatened
her with physical harm?
A [Menzie] Yes.”
P. 110; L. 9-11
“Q From what other source do you know that Mr. Peters had threatened her
with physical harm?
Q Did Bill tell you specifically that Peters had threatened her with physical harm?
P. 110; L. 21 – P. 111; L. 4
By now (late on Day 3, April 5, 1979), the credibility of Earl Peters has undergone severe
attack through Sgt. Michael Menzie’s cross-examination. His view of the Tyree marriage
and its relation to the dubious presence of Peters in their daily lives revealed deep flaws in
the testimony which Peters had given on Day 1 and 2.
The worst was yet to come:
- Menzie cited a specific and recent instance of the animus of Peters for Elaine Tyree,
and this, with a somber undertone:
“Q [Spadafora] Did Bill tell you specifically that Peters had
threatened her with physical harm?
A [Menzie] Yes.
Q Could you tell me the substance of the conversation?
A It was the Saturday before she was murdered.
Q That would be January 27 th [the murder took place on Jan. 30].
What did Mr. Tyree tell you?
A That that night they had an argument.
Q Who had an argument?
A Bill and Elaine over Peters.
Q Okay, go on.
A And at that time, she had exposed that she was keeping a record of
what he had been doing.
MR. DEMICHAELIS: I missed that.
THE COURT: She had exposed that she was keeping a record of what?
THE WITNESS: Bill and Peters were doing,
AND OTHER PEOPLE. [Caps added]
Q And other people?
A That were related with Bill.”
Q Now, when you say that she exposed it, did she expose this,
or did she say this to Mr. Peters?
Q What did Mr. Tyree tell you that Mr. Peters response was?
A He said that people that keep books like that more or less
end up with their throat cut.
Q Would you repeat that again, please? Now this is Mr. Peters talking?
A This is what Bill told me.
Q Right, that Mr. Peters said?
Q Would you say it again, please?
A That people that keep books like that end up dead.
Q Specifically, what did you say a minute ago?
A I did say throat cut, but – –
MR. DEMICHAELIS: Before the next question, if Your Honor please,
I move to strike every question and answer that relates
to this series of conversations, because it is pure
hearsay, and it is self-serving, and it has no evidential
relevant value that is admissible as far as I can be aware of.
THE COURT: It certainly has something to do with
the credibility of Michael Peters.”
Page 111; L. 2- P. 113; L. 5
It is now long past the time when DeMichaelis knew that the value of Earl Peters as the
chief witness against Tyree for the Commonwealth had been seriously compromised. His
failure to adequately interview Menzie in advance of calling him to testify has become
And it is now that the patience of Spadafora, after hearing multiple objections from
DeMichaelis (provoked by the error of DeMichaelis himself), is exhausted:
After the lengthy complaint of DeMichaelis regarding the admissibility of Menzie’s
testimony (now devastating to the Commonwealth), Spadafora has heard DeMichaelis
(largely without objection from the defense attorneys) laboriously extract testimony from
Menzie, HIS WITNESS, some of it, arguably favorable to the Commonwealth. Now, it
seems DeMichaelis is unwilling that the defense be provided with an equal opportunity to
hear alternate, contrary, testimony.
Spadafora has heard enough.
“MR. SPADAFORA: Your Honor, if I may respond to the District Attorney. On direct
examination, the Sergeant here quoted Mr. Tyree as saying that he believed his wife was
killed because of a series of incidents that he was involved in. Considering the fact
that there were a number of instances involved in a number of different locations, it could
result in the possibility that the people involved on the other end of those instances could
have a great deal of reason to do away with his wife, specifically, because she knew what
they were doing, and she had kept a record thereof. And, Mr. Tyree’s direct conversation
is what I am eliciting here from the Sergeant; was that Mr. Peters on the Saturday before
the wife was killed, specifically said when confront[ed] by his wife, that she had a book,
and she knew what he was doing, people who keep books like that are going to get their
throats cut. Now, if that isn’t relevant, then perhaps, the fact that she is dead isn’t
This has now become an arena of intense professional rivalry. DeMichaelis must counter
the satirical statement which concluded Spadafora’s paragraph (above), else the
prosecution’s posture will deteriorate further:
“MR. DEMICHAELIS: May I further state that it isn’t so much the substance that I am
objecting to, if it came from a source of a personal knowledge of this witness, such as if he
had heard Peters say certain things, or if he had, which are inconsistent with
Peters’ testimony, or if he had seen Peters doing this stuff personally, which would be
inconsistent with Peters’ testimony, this is commonly called a hearsay self-serving source,
to wit: the defendant, which is pure and adulter[at]ed hearsay, which also applies to cross-
examination as well as direct examination, as far as I’m concerned, I would strongly
suggest, if Your Honor please, that under those circumstances, this is entirely inadmissible,
and I again, renew my motion to strike that whole series of questions and answers that
come from a source, from the mouth of the defendant, not even an independent person.”
Readers of this entire transcript (and others) might notice the failure of Bradley (for Tyree)
to strenuously enter this ongoing fray on behalf of Tyree (an easily identifiable pattern
which will be evident through the superior court trial of Tyree).
Not so “THE COURT”. The transcript bristles with evidence that Judge Killam closely
“THE COURT: I disagree with you that it’s self-serving.
Your motion is denied.”
P. 113; L. 6-P. 115; L. 3 (emphasis added)
There remains but one query to complete the destruction of what Judge Killam termed
“the credibility of Michael Peters.”
Did Bill Tyree ever tell Michael Menzie that he believed
that Earl Michael Peters murdered his wife, Elaine Tyree?
The last examination of Menzie ( “RECROSS…” by Spadafora, Day 3, April 5, 1979)
presented the only remaining query:
- Did Bill Tyree state to Menzie that he believed Earl Peters murdered his wife, Elaine?
“Q [Spadafora] Sergeant, when we first brought up the subject of
these letters, on your original cross examination, one question
that I didn’t ask you was, if Mr. Tyree subsequently said to you
that he thought Peters had murdered his wife.
I am going to ask you that question now.
Did Mr. Tyree say to you that he thought that
Mr. Peters had murder his wife?
A [Menzie] Yes.”
P. 190; L. 13-21 (Text spaced for emphasis)
V. Earl Michael Peters
The Probable Cause hearing before Judge Killam is only in its 3rd day of 13 days and the
Commonwealth had decided that the first 2 days would feature the testimony of Earl
Peters, who has now been identified (by the words of William Tyree through Michael
Menzie) as the killer of Elaine Tyree.
By the foregoing it seems clear that Peters had:
a) The motive (his name appearing in a criminal
context in Elaine’s “books”)-
b) The means (to cite the large collection of firearms and knives
listed in his earlier testimony seems redundant at this point);
defense counsel had elicited from Peters a catalog of his privately
owned weaponry (“Seventeen [firearms]”, “Thirty [knives]” – Day 2,
04/04/79; P. 70; L. 22 – P. 71; L. 10); However, Peters, as Tyree and Aarhus,
was a Special Forces soldier in the prime of life. The means to end
another’s life, WITHOUT HARDWARE, was presumably part of their
Green Beret, specialized, training.-
Did he also have “c)” opportunity?
If he, in fact, murdered Elaine Tyree, the answer would be self-evident.
Peters said he was asleep or in his room at the time of the murder, purportedly supported
by the testimony of 2 other Ft. Devens soldiers. However, if there is evidence, via the
appearance of a physical object, an object which could only have been retrieved by Peters
from the Tyree apartment AT THE TIME OF THE CRIME, the issue of “c)”, opportunity,
will be established. But we have yet to reach the issue of THE LETTERS, whether they
support the foregoing; much less have we reached the issue of THE SHOTGUN.
We must pursue one last issue of Peters’ credibility and how it fared under his cross-
examination on Day 2, April 4, 1979. But first, we must note that, under examination, a
witness cannot be asked a trivial question:
“Have you EVER told a lie?”
Both the opposing attorney would move (and the presiding justice would grant) the striking
of such a question from the record. ANY SENSITIVE QUERY, ADDRESSING THE
CREDIBILITY OF THE WITNESS, MUST BE DIRECTED TO THE RELEVANT
MATERIAL BEFORE THE COURT. The fact that the witness has ever uttered a
falsehood in one’s entire life is totally irrelevant and cannot enter the record. If the
examining attorney questions the truthfulness of the witness, it must have a direct bearing
on the nature of the case.
The question of Peters’ own credibility, BASED ON HIS OWN TESTIMONY BEFORE
THE COURT, was explicitly revealed on Day 2.
- Did the testimony of Earl Michael Peters establish or degrade his credibility on April 3
(DAY 1) and April 4, (DAY 2) 1979?
The background for Peters’ testimony involves an “ARTICLE 15” military disciplinary
proceeding which involved Tyree, Aarhus and the testimony of several servicemen. The
charges were first preferred against Tyree in mid-1978 and involved the alleged
misappropriation of military materials. Peters had been interviewed by a Capt. Carrigan
and the hard copy of the same was evidently available to Spadafora before the cross-
examination of Peters.
Before the queries regarding the ARTICLE 15 proceedings (DAY 2), Peters (on DAY 1)
seemed to have difficulty in the recollection of specific dates for his accusations against
Tyree. This caught the ear of the court:
“Q [Spadafora] But you do recall that it was a Sunday morning early in November,
and what time of morning was it? Approximately?
A [Peters] Ten or eleven o’clock maybe.
Q Tell us what was said?
COURT: Who spoke first?
Q Do you need something to refresh your recollection?
COURT Are you in good health?
WITNESS [Peters]: Yes, I am.
COURT Do you have any problems right now?
WITNESS [Peters]: No, I don’t.”
DAY 1, P.13; L.15 – P.14; L. 5
On the next day, during a preliminary procedural exchange, the prior observation of the
“MR. DEMICHAELIS: Earl Peters. Your Honor, may I make a few
preliminary remarks to this particular witness given
the fact that his testimony was difficult?
THE COURT: Well, I gave you permission to lead him yesterday because I felt
there was either a nervous problem or a recollection problem.”
DAY 2, P. 11; L. 9-15
Q [Spadafora] I see. So, in the second statement that you made to Captain Carrigan,
there were clauses in that statement that were not true, is that correct?
Q And, if they were not true, they were lies, is that correct?
P. 98; L. 13-19
Q In any case, the second statement that you gave
Captain Carrigan was a lie, or contained lies, correct?
P. 99; L. 7-10
Q …You testified that you didn’t hear anything. Under oath, you signed this
statement saying that you did not hear anything, and now in this Courtroom,
today, you testified you heard a lot. Now, that’s a lie, correct?
P. 101; L. 4-9
The foregoing 3 exchanges involved accusations which Peters had made, under oath and in
writing, during the ARTICLE 15 proceedings. The impact of the 3 “Yes” answers in a
judicial proceeding is hard to over-emphasize:
Peters not only lied in a matter relevant for the
proceedings before Judge Killam, but had done so in a matter
which was severely inimical to Tyree’s career as a Special Forces soldier.
Whether in a jury or bench trial, once a witness has been exposed as untruthful, the Court
(jury or single/multiple judges) is permitted to disregard any OR ALL of that witness’s
More to the point, the accusations of Peters against Tyree, that Tyree asked him to kill his
wife, must now be exposed to a scrutiny enlightened by Peters’ subsequent testimony.
The foregoing assaults on the credibility of Mike Peters, FIRST, by his own testimony on
DAY 2; SECOND by the statements of Bill Tyree made orally and in writing to Sgt.
Michael Menzie, and as reflected in Menzie’s testimony on DAY 3 (April 5, 1979) were
not lost on the Court after hearing Menzie repeat the phrase, i.e., that
“A [Menzie] “people that keep books like that more or less end up with their throat cut.”,
P. 112; L. 7-8
And we are aware that DeMichaelis now wishes this more recent testimony of Menzie
stricken. At this point, we might also note that Spadafora, DeMichaelis AND THE
COURT have heard enough:
“THE COURT: It certainly has something to do with the credibility of Michael Peters.”
P. 112; L. 19 – P. 113; L. 5 (See #114, 08/09/14)
On DAY 6 (April 11, 1979), the Court decides to relate his current view of the proceedings
in a carefully cloistered bench conference:
“THE COURT: …We’re all big boys, right? It’s entirely possible
that Peters is the knife man.
MR. SPADAFORA: I think you’re right, I really do.
MR. DEMICHAELIS: All that I know – –
THE COURT: That’s off the record completely.
(Off the Record) (Colloquy in camera ended)”
DAY 6, April 11, 1979; P. 25; L. 3-15
Observers of legal proceedings are well acquainted with ‘Off the Record’, ‘in camera’
discussions, usually conducted at the bench, sometimes in chambers. The same observers
are keenly aware that the foregoing conversation between the Court and counsel was not
meant for other ears.
Oddly, when copies of the Probable Cause proceedings were made for the subsequent
hearings, neither the stenographer nor those making the copies noticed this grave
procedural error (usually corrected by careful redaction).
For example, this statement of Mr. DeMichaelis on DAY 12 (May 8, 1979):
“I don’t plan to pursue any Grand Jury hearing or action until your Honor decides.”
and the recent acknowledgment by the District Attorney’s office that, in fact, a secret grand
jury had indicted Tyree on the prior day, May 7, 1979. This admission impliedly admits
perjury in the May 8 statement of DeMichaelis.
Since Tyree (nor, in all probability, Menzie) was neither present nor aware of this
proceeding, we can be assured that no mention of the infamous Tyree “letters” were made
before the grand jury.
Nor was the indictment process hindered by the testimony of Menzie
regarding the “throat cut” statement of Peters.
Nor was Spadafora available to carefully extract Peters’ admission of lying
against Tyree in the Article 15 proceedings.
Much less was the Grand Jury later made aware of the finding of the Ayer Court of
Probable Cause against Peters for first the degree murder of Elaine Tyree, in contradiction
to its own findings.
It is most unlikely that the Grand Jury heard Wayne Maxon, under intense pressure from
Bradley, admit that Earl Peters’ shotgun was signed into the armory at ca. “1430 hours”
(2:30 P.M.) in the afternoon of Jan. 30 while photos were being taken of Elaine Tyree’s
We can assume that the Grand Jury was not informed that CID Agent Burzynski stated that
he received oral permission from Col. Rittgers to search the Aarhus room at “5:40 P.M.”
but that Col. Rittgers firmly held to a time of “6:10 P.M.”, thus exposing fraud in the
testimony of the search parties, both military and civilian.
It is now clear, as of 04/11/79, that the Court has begun to find Probable Cause against Earl
“It’s entirely possible that Peters is the knife man.”
DAY 6, P. 25, L. 4-5
VI. The Menzie Letters
An inquiry into the grounds for the Court’s covertly expressed (to counsel) view are now
properly before us. And so, it is imperative that we now be informed that, 2 days before,
on DAY 4 (04/09/79), the infamous “letters” from Tyree to Menzie and Woodland,
exhaustively cited in their prior testimony on that day, had been submitted to the Court as
“EXHIBITS #7, 8 & 9”
at the conclusion of Michael Menzie’s last appearance on the stand. It is clear that neither
the Court nor counsel had heretofore read the contents thereof.
An odd legal crossroads (if not a ‘roadblock’ for the Commonwealth) has appeared:
The letters appear to contain material which, if believed, completely destroy
the value of Earl Michael Peters as the chief witness for the Commonwealth.
If Tyree had appeared as a witness in the current proceeding, his statements in the letters
would be subject to cross-examination and potential impeachment. But, since Tyree has
decided not to testify, there are no direct means of impeaching the crucial statements yet to
be found in his letters. DeMichaelis (for the Commonwealth) could recall both Menzie
and Woodland AFTER perusal of the letters’ contents, an option which, oddly, he failed
to pursue. He could move to have the letters excluded from formal submission to the
Court (an option denied by the Court) BUT COUNSEL WAS NOT ALLOWED TO SEE
THE LETTERS UNTIL AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF THE MENZIE/WOODLAND
TESTIMONY. Consequently, DeMichaelis will have to deal with ‘the cow AFTER she
leaves the barn’.
But the Court has now seen the letters:
“MR. DEMICHAELIS: …I was wondering if Your Honor has read the letters…?
THE COURT: I have read them.”
DAY 4, P. 136; L. 18-21
The letters, 3 in number, are postmarked March 14, 23 and 30, 1979, the first being
presumably written by Tyree little more than 4 weeks from the day of his arrest on
February 13, 1979.
THE FIRST LETTER – EXHIBIT #7
Item 1. The joint Peters/Tyree criminal activity
After the conclusion of the personal body of the letter, Tyree drearily recites some 16
occasions, some of which necessarily involved him in, either participation in or witness to,
several varieties of criminal activity. Most of the occasions involved cooperation with
Peters, one with Erik Aarhus. Certain materials were acquired by Tyree from military
supply but, according to him, given, not sold, to others. None of the 16 occasions involved
harm by Tyree, threatened or otherwise, to any person.
Item 2. The letter repeatedly specified the existence and notoriety of the “books” kept by
Erik Aarhus had approached Elaine, December, 1978, when she and daughter were sitting
in Tyree’s truck and demanded that she
“she had better…[get] rid of [the books]…”. P.2
Tyree later confronted Aarhus, fought with him and laughed off Aarhus’ threat to kill him.
Aarhus had then stated that Peters was aware that Aarhus’ name was cited therein and that
“becuse with those’s books,. I [Aarhus] could go to jail.” P. 3, original spelling retained
Item 3. The letter specifically cited the animus of Peters against Elaine
“Mike Peters was at my house the Saturday before she died, me him and Elaine
discussed what we would do with the books so at that point, Mike discovered that his
name was in the Books as often as AARHUS. He got mad and asked me to drive him
back to Post. On the way back to Post, he [Peters] told me that with Books like those’s
‘some-one could get their throat cut.” P. 3. Original spelling retained
THE FIRST LETTER-EXHIBIT #7 (Tyree-Menzie, ca. March 14, 1979)
Item 4. The exoneration of Aarhus:
“If you see Aarhus again, tell him I know he didn’t do it, and that by him saying he did it
ain’t going to help at all…I’m no fool, she was a big girl and its going take more
th[a]n just him to do it…”
The same disparity in physical size was noted by the Court:
“Speaker 3: “…there was question as to whether or not Aarhus actually held the
weapon.…Did you feel like it actually was consistent with what took place?
No. For several reasons. The victim Elaine Tyree was a large woman.
Eric Aarhus was a small man.”
Transcript of Judge Killam interview, “MURDER AT FORT DEVENS”, 11/4/97
THE SECOND LETTER-EXHIBIT #8 (Tyree-Menzie, dated, March 21, 1979)
Item 5. The Peters/Tyree rift:
“…so we split, we told Elaine that we had been 4 wheeling and had hit a tree branch, after
[Peters] left that night I told Elaine the truth, that was the straw that broke the camels
back, she threatened to divorce me and tell everything, at that point I told her that just so
I wouldn’t do it any more to keep a record of all the things me and Peters had done, she
then showed me the books, after that we never fought over that subject…”
Item 6. The Peters shotgun:
”…Peters had a shotgun, (a Remington 1100, 12 gauge) under our couch, you know our
couch folded into a bed. Well the cops didn’t find that shotgun at our house, and it was
there the morning of the day she died. Which means that gun was taken out of there
later that day…”
P. 1-2 (emphasis added)
NOTE: Tyree could not have known, in March, of the testimony of Peters and Wayne
Maxon, Armorer, in April.
Item 6. The guilt of Peters:
“”[A]nd who els[e] would have a key (Elaine told her Parents she
seen [Peters] take my keys, and she thinks he had duplicates made)…” P.4
“[N]ow I truly believe, I’m on the level that Peters cut my wifes throat,
Bec[a]use she had the goods on him…” P. 9
THE SECOND LETTER-EXHIBIT #8 (Tyree-Menzie, March 21, 1979)
Item 7. Elaine:
“…[T]he only thing that ever ment anything to me was Elaine, and I tried to prevent it
and I didn’t. mike Elaine stuck thru me with thick and thin and when we were having
problems and I was acting like a jackass and was w[a]ndering around lose last year (feb
78 TO June 78) did she leave me hell no, when this court-martial thing came up did she
leave me, hell, no, and when she gave birth to my daughter I thought I had the world by
the [***], I had my new truck, new daughter, and one hell of a lady for a wife mike you
never will know what you have, until you don’t have it.”
EX. #8; P. 9-10–original spelling retained
Item 8. Dawn:
“…so I named her, and my daughter is the one thing in this life that means more then
anything elsa, cuse she’s Elaine a little Elaine, that’s what I see when I see Dawn.
Yep that’s my kid, me and elaine thought often about her first day of school, when
she told them her middle name, yep that was something me and Elaine knew, that
nobody could take from us, we had Dawn and each other. And that was all we needed…”
EX. #8; P. 3-4-original spelling retained
We are aware that Judge Killam, well before April 11, 1979, had full judicial notice
regarding the frailty of Earl Peters’ testimony:
“It’s entirely possible that Peters is the knife man.”
DAY 6, P.25; L.4-5
VII. The Shotgun
On DAY 9 or 10, the “Armorer,” or serviceman in charge of the barracks armory testified,
in this case for the armory within the barracks of Earl Peters. The PCH testimony of the
relevant armorer, Wayne Maxon, is not available to us and we now must rely on inferences
thereto, in other Probable Cause testimony (Peters), Maxon’s (and others’) Superior Court
testimony and the order of Judge Killam, 05/15/79.
Peters explicitly acknowledged prior storage of a “Remington 1100 shotgun” at the
Washington Street Tyree residence:
“Q. [Bradley] At some point, it was under the couch at Tyree’s apartment, was it not?
A. [Peters] That’s right.
Q. Was it not under the couch in Tyree’s apartment on Sunday [ * ] night, the night before
his wife was killed?
A. No, I removed it Saturday night.”
*Later corrected to Sunday, two days before the murder.
DAY 2, 04/04/79; P. 76; L.5-10
Bradley’s curiosity apparently results from earlier interviews with Tyree. Otherwise the
existence of the shotgun in the apartment would be extraneous to the current status of the
case. Bradley may know that Tyree had written to Menzie but there is no evidence that he
had access to the letters before their presentation by Menzie later on Day 4. Now we are
given Peters’ relation of the shotgun’s journey from Tyree apartment to Fort Devens
“Q. Okay. Now, when you removed the Remington, you took it to the Arms Room,
did you not, and checked it in?
A. That’s right.
Q. Would that be that night?
A………….Monday morning at seven o’clock.
Q. …………. It was Monday morning then, on the 29 th of January right, that you turned
that weapon into Sergeant Matthews?
A. It wasn’t Sergeant Matthews, it was Spec Four [Wayne] Maxon.
DAY 2 – P. 76; L. 17- P.78; L. 19
Although Peters was ambivalent whether the weapon was removed from the Tyree
apartment on Saturday or Sunday night, he clearly relates its entrance into the armory:
- Early, ca. 7 o’clock, Monday, January 29.
- The armorer in receipt of the weapon was one Wayne Maxon.
The Commonwealth (DeMichaelis) likely did not know what provoked Bradley’s inquiry
re this particular shotgun (but would have had access to the apartment inventory, in which
there was no mention of a shotgun) and also chimed in.
“Q. [DeMichaelis] Now, tell us about this gun that was under the couch in the Tyree
apartment, how it got there and under what circumstances?
A. [Peters] I bought it early in January at the Burlington Shopping Center in
Burlington and I brought it back and I kept it at Bill’s house, I don’t know,
three or four weeks, possibly.
Q. Was there any conversation with Bill Tyree before you brought it to Bill’s house?
Q. Was he aware of the fact that it was there?
P. 115; L. 10- P. 116; L.8
DeMichaelis now unwittingly extracts crucial information from his own witness
“Q. What was the reason for your removing [on Sunday, 01/28/79]?
A. One, I was going home on a leave, or on pass, rather, on Wednesday, and I was going
to leave Tuesday night, or Wednesday, and the reason was, Bill and Elaine were pack-
ing to go to Utah and that’s why the shotgun was removed and put in the Arms Room.”
P. 118; L. 6-15
We are aware that Elaine Tyree’s discharge from the Army would take place on Friday,
February 2, 1979, and now that Peters was leaving on a pre-arranged pass on Tuesday,
January 30 or Wednesday, January 31.
The current unavailability of transcripts for DAY 9 and/or 10 (Probable Cause Hearings –
“PCH”) leads to an odd retrieval exercise in the 1980 Superior Court hearings. But first,
recall that Judge Killam’s order specifically recalls
“two [receipts] for Peters’ Remington 1100 autoloading shotgun…”
Order, 05/15/79, Page 1
Since the shotgun issue is a prominent subject of Judge Killam’s finding of probable cause
against Peters for the actual murder of Elaine Tyree, we will now trace the shotgun’s
travels from its admitted storage
“under the couch at Tyree’s apartment…”.
DAY 2, 04/04/79; P.76; L.5
soon after purchase in early January, 1979. Peters acknowledged that Tyree was aware of
the shotgun’s presence in the Tyree apartment.
After some ambivalence, Peters stated that the weapon was removed Sunday, Jan. 28 (two
days before the murder) rather than Saturday, Jan. 27, and signed into the barracks armory
at about 7 A.M., Monday, Jan. 29. It is clear from the armorer’s testimony in Superior
Court, Wayne Maxon, that Peters and Maxon are in agreement on the day and approximate
time for the sign-in of the shotgun.
However, on March 21 (THE SECOND LETTER-EXHIBIT #8), Tyree writes to Menzie
and puzzles over an anomaly apparent in the inventory of his apartment, prepared by law
”…Peters had a shotgun, (a Remington 1100, 12 gauge) under our couch,
you know our couch folded into a bed. Well the cops didn’t find that
shotgun at our house, and it was there the morning of the day she died.
Which means that gun was taken out of there later that day…”
P. 1-2 (emphasis added)
The March 21 date is well before the PCH commencement on April 3 and Maxon’s critical
testimony was not given until after April 13. At that time, March 21, Tyree has no
knowledge of Peters’ later claims to have removed the shotgun on Sunday, Jan. 28, much
less Peters’ and Maxon’s claims to have observed its signing into the Armory on Monday,
Jan. 29. Of course, Judge Killam became fully aware of this anomaly on the entry of the
letters as court exhibits on DAY 4, April 9.
Oddly, on April 11 (DAY 6) it is the court, Judge Killam, who begins the burrowing
process into the issue of “the couch” and the testimony of Officer Decot, one of the first
persons to enter the apartment after the murder.
“Q. [The Court] Did you see a couch?
A. [Decot] Yes, Your Honor, the minute I went in.
Q. In what condition?
A. The couch was turned over.
A. Tipped over. It wasn’t upright, the way a couch normally –“
DAY 6; P. 80; L. 6-12
When Officer Boisseau testifies, Bradley now expresses interest in the couch/sofa:
“Q. [Bradley] You told us that when you went into
the room that the sofa was opened, right?
A. [Boisseau] It was broken open, right. I believe the sofa will open
completely into a bed, if I’m not mistaken. This was not into a bed.
Q. It had been tipped up exposing the storage area under the bed?
P. 100; L. 12-19
Since Boisseau apparently photographed the murder scene, the photos soon provide
further pursuit of the “couch/sofa” subject and it is clear that the Court is carefully
following the thread:
“Q. [Bradley] Well, does [the relevant photo] fairly represent the couch?
A. [Boisseau] Oh, yes…
…Q. As you saw it?
THE COURT [Killam]: Does that appear to be in the same condition that you saw it?
THE WITNESS [Boisseau] Yes, sir, it does.”
P. 101; L. 8
The evident curiosity of the Court w/regard to “the couch” surfaces again in Boisseau’s
“Q. [DeMichaelis] So, the body was between the overturned couch and the kitchen table,
is that correct?
A. [Boisseau] Yes.
Q. 12F [apparently a reference to a numbered photograph]?
MR. BRADLEY: Let me get a correction. That couch was not overturned?
THE COURT: The couch was opened.
MR. DEVMICHAELIS: Well, I think the pictures speak for themselves.
THE COURT: Yes.”
DAY 6 (April 11, 1979) – P. 121; L. 11-21
By now the scrutiny of the Court has been aroused. Such appears again, nearly one month
later during the Court view of the murder scene. The only parties evident are Judge
Killam, DeMichaelis, Bradley, Spadafora, a clerk and transcriptionist:
“MR. DEMICHAELIS: Your Honor seems to have been very aware of the turning over
or the opening of the couch…
…THE COURT: My particular interest in whether the couch was open or not may have
had some relation to the possibility that the shotgun may have still been in that—
MR. DEMICHAELIS: Yes, I understand that that was your Honor’s concern.
COURT: …that was my concern on whether or not the couch – – it had a little bit to do
with credibility, because some of the witnesses indicated that the couch was over-turned,
and that was my belief from having seen the pictures. My feeling was that the couch was
not overturned; it was rather opened up.
MR. DEMICHAELIS: Yes, your Honor. I’m not sure how that couch works, but it’s
possible that the way it can be opened up is by overturning the top part of it.
COURT: I have a couple of them. They have a latch, and the way you open them up is
you lift the seat and it still stays at right angles. If you want to let the thing down into the
double bed, you give I another push the latch releases, and it comes down into a double
bed…[i]t happens to be within the Judge’s knowledge.”
DAY 12, May 8, 1979; P. 19; L. 9-11; P. 21; L. 6 – P. 22; L. 19
Now we are aware that even the Commonwealth has noticed both the couch issue and the
interest of the Court in its “open” rather than “overturned” position. As for the defense
lawyers, Spadafora and Bradley, there is little at this point to show either their interest or
awareness of the distinction. We know that the “open” position revealed the inner
compartment in which Peters’ shotgun had been stored. We also know that it had been
removed, not by law enforcement on the day of the murder, but by Peters himself,
allegedly on Monday, Jan. 29, the day before the murder. We will soon learn Armorer
Maxon’s testimony regarding the actual date and time of the shotgun’s appearance in his
Months later in the Superior Court, on Feb. 13, 1980, it is finally Bradley (for Tyree) who
now has an interest in the couch and its appearance to Police Chief Adamson on the day
of the murder:
“Q [Bradley, cross examination]: Chief, you’re the second one at the scene of 104-1/2
A. [Adamson] Yes.
Q. You told us about a couch that was open when you entered the apartment?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You said a part of it was open?
A. That’s correct.
Q. You said you had some familiarity with that couch, you owned one similar to it [prior
A. Yes, sir.”
TENTH DAY, February 12, 1980; P. 1433; L. 14-23
Since the critical testimony of Wayne Maxon during the PCH is not available to us, it is
only the Superior Court transcripts which will bring the issue of Peters’ shotgun to the
apogee of our inquiry.
On February 13, 1980 (Superior Court, FOURTH DAY, Tyree trial), Bradley again renews
his interest in the couch, this time with Officer Decot:
“Q [Bradley] You said [the couch] was not in – – what did
you say about the sofa?
A [Decot] It wasn’t in the normal position. I’m not, I couldn’t, I was only
there momentarily. I couldn’t say just how it was, but it was either tipped
upside down or tipped over. It didn’t look normal to me.”
P 512; L5-9
With Boisseau on the stand, it is apparent McCormick senses a significance which
DeMichaelis (in PCH) more clearly perceived:
“Q [McCormick] It’s not one of those pull out couches, is it?
A [Boisseau] No, the bottom seating area of the couch can be lifted for a
storage space in the frame of the couch itself.”
P. 533; L. 10-12
Before Boisseau is excused, Bradley tries again. Apparently, Boisseau’s
photo of the apartment scene, showing the couch, is before them:
“Q [Bradley] This portion of the couch, right here, that gold, or I don’t
know what color it is, that portion of the couch or the settee that I have
pointed out to you is the outside edge of the sitting portion?
A [Boisseau] Sitting, right.
Q So that is raised up, raised up?
A Raised up.
Q Exposing a storage area?
…WITNESS [Boisseau]: This is the sitting part of the couch, as though it had
been lifted, in a raised position. The frame, the storage
space underneath here, which is not quite in the picture.”
P. 547; L. 6- P.548; L. 4
It is time for summation:
The following parties have mentioned “the couch“ issue; subsequent testimony often
brings us to the “storage space”:
Peters – PCH, 04/04/79; P. 76; L. 5-10
Judge Killam-Decot – PCH, 04/11/79; P. 80; L. 6-12
Bradley- Boisseau-PCH, 04/11/79; P. 100; L. 12-19
Judge Killam-Boisseau-PCH, 04/11/79; P. 101-8-16
Judge Killam-Boisseau-PCH, 04/11/79; P. 121; L. 11-21
Judge Killam-during view-PCH, 05/08/79; P. 19; L. 9-11; p. 21; L. 6; P.22; L.19
Bradley-Adamson-Superior Court, 02/12/80; P. 1433; L. 14-23
Bradley-Decot-Superior Court, 02/13/80; P. 512; L. 5-9
Bradley-Boisseau-Superior Court, 02/13/80; P. 547; L.6 – P. 548; L.4
Bradley and Tyree are fully aware of the thrust of the foregoing:
But Tyree had written to Menzie on March 21, 2 WEEKS BEFORE THE PCH BEGAN,
“…the cops didn’t find [Peters shotgun] at our house and it was there the morning of the
day she died…Which means the gun was taken out of there later that day…”.
2 nd letter to Menzie, March 21, 1979, Page 1-2 (emphasis added)
Recall that Tyree has yet to hear Peters testify that he removed the shotgun
on Monday, January 29, the day before Elaine’s murder, January 30, 1979.
Recall that Tyree has yet to hear the testimony of Wayne Maxon, late April,
early May, 1979 (PCH), much less the bench conference and subsequent
testimony of Maxon on February 26, 1980 (Superior Court).
However, McCormick, who was not in attendance at the PCH, does not have the same
awareness of the shotgun issue and only knows that Bradley is probing at a strangely
irrelevant issue. In particular, McCormick was not at PCH when Wayne Maxon, the
armorer testified. This unfamiliarity will provoke an extraordinary bench conference in
Superior Court on February 26, 1980. This confusion on McCormick’s part should have
led to an acquittal for Tyree, THREE DAYS LATER ON FRIDAY, February 29.
On February 26, 1980, THREE DAYS BEFORE TYREE’S CONVICTION ON
FEBRUARY 29, the armorer, Wayne Maxon (whose transcripts from PCH are not
available) took the stand.
Oddly, although we have noted several key witnesses singled out by Bradley who never
appear (although subpoenas had been issued), BRADLEY CALLS, AS HIS WITNESS,
THE SAID WAYNE MAXON.
Of course, the opportunity to develop the information Bradley and Tyree have from PCH,
INCLUDING LETTER NO. 2 and transcript testimony,
- Citing the presence of the shotgun in the storage compartment of the couch on the
morning of the murder;
- Citing the testimony of Maxon in PCH (which we will now hear),
has been irretrievably lost. ‘Better late than never,’ Bradley plunges ahead.
“Q [Bradley] What is that document?
A [Maxon] Daily inventory sheet…
…Q At some time the arms room was opened [on January 30]?
A 1430 [2:30 P.M.].
Q Does that reflect a Remington 1100-, whatever it may be?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did that Remington go in on January 30 th at 1430?
A. No, sir….
…Q You’re certain that that other weapon was turned in to, Mr. Peters
turned a weapon in to you on Monday, January 29 th ?
A. Yes, sir.” February 26, 1980 (TWELFTH DAY); P. 1787; L.12 – P. 1788; L. 6
At this point it is clear that Maxon’s expected testimony has gone awry, i.e., Bradley is
now in the awkward position of impeaching his own witness, a grave procedural
irregularity in legal process. Bradley now produces the transcript from PCH.
“Q I’m going to ask you to direct your attention to Page 124 [PCH], starting at
Line 12 and going down through Line 18 on the next page.
Read that to yourself, please,
A (Reading). Yes, sir…
…Q Okay. Does that refresh your recollection today?
Does that refresh your recollection, Mr. Maxon?
A. Yes, sir.
Q That day in Ayer, what day did you then say that Mr. Peters checking in a weapon?
MR. MCCORMICK. Objection, your Honor.
THE COURT. Overruled.
MR. MCCORMICK. May I approach the bench, your Honor?
THE COURT: You may.”
P. 1789, L. 4-18
Now commences a bench conference revealing irregularities in the Commonwealth’s
(AND THE COURT’S) perception of the Tyree case, more especially the shotgun/couch
“CONFERENCE AT THE BENCH
MR. MCCORMICK. This is his witness, your Honor, first of all.
THE COURT. [To Bradley] You’re leading the witness. Are you surprised by his answer?
MR. BRADLEY. I was surprised at his answer, not today, no. I knew what he was going
to say, but this is a complete reversal from the time he talked to me. If you read on now,
he talked to me and he told it was 1430 [2:30 P.M.]. This is recorded testimony, by the
way. He told me 1430. Now, if you go on here, you find that the D.A. spent some time,
Mr. DeMichaelis, the D.A. Mr. DeMichaelis did and then the testimony changed.
THE COURT. Wait a minute, How can you call a witness simply to impeach him? If you
knew he was going to give that testimony – – –
MR. BRADLEY. I didn’t believe that was the testimony he was going to give today,
MR. MCCORMICK. If your Honor please, as I understand it, he was subpoenaed in and
before he testified he talked with Mr. Bradley relative to the inventory dated 1-30-79
And when Mr. Maxon talked with Mr. Bradley, Mr. Bradley interpreted it that the
gun was checked in at that time.
THE COURT. The instrument does say that.
MR. MCCORMICK. But it’s not in the district court testimony when he came in on
April 9 th .”
P. 1789; L. 21 – P. 1790; P. 23 (emphasis added)
The bench conference on February 26, 1980 (TWELFTH DAY, Superior Court) belatedly
tells the story which Tyree’s defense knew but failed to retell to the jury:
Peters’ shotgun was in the couch compartment early January 30, 1979, before
Elaine’s murder at noon.
Peters acknowledged taking the weapon to the barracks Armory but stated that this
happened the day before, January 29.
Wayne Maxon gave conflicting testimony regarding the sign-in time for the shotgun,
both in PCH and now in Superior Court. A key juncture in the Tyree case is now
taking place at the bench.
Although an attorney is not expected (nor ordinarily permitted) to impeach his own
witness, the Court permits the conversation to continue.
Judge Young acknowledges,
“THE COURT. The instrument does say that.”
but McCormick objects that the relevant time, “1430 hours”, does not appear in the
“MR. MCCORMICK. But it’s not in the district court testimony
when he came in on April 9 th ”
P. 1790; L. 21 (emphasis added)
“THE COURT. I think we are going to give Mr. Bradley a little latitude. You may deal
with it on cross-examination.
MR. MCCORMICK. I object, your Honor, to allowing him to impeach his own witness.
THE COURT. This man believes the gun was turned in 1430 hours [2:30 P.M.], January
30 th [the day of the murder]. Is his testimony today consistent with that?
MR. MCCORMICK. He testified on that day in the Ayer District Court that the gun was
turned in Monday morning at 9:05. He never testified in the Ayer District Court, he never
testified, never once, that the gun was turned in on Tuesday around 1430.
MR. BRADLEY. Of course he did.”
P. 1790; L.24 – P. 1791; L. 12 (emphasis added)
What has just happened should not occur in a well-ordered prosecution. McCormick did
not participate in the PCH and is not familiar with the PCH transcript. Although the 2 nd
Tyree-Menzie letter is an existing, viable exhibit in the PCH and gives Tyree’s unrebutted
statement that the shotgun was in the couch storage space, early on the day of the murder,
McCormick may not have actually read it. Bradley knows better and, much belatedly,
shows a little courage.
“THE COURT. As I read Page 21, that is a subject of interpretation.
MR. MCCORIMICK. That’s what he said in April.
THE COURT. Lines 15 through 17.
MR. MCCORMICK. This is what he said to Mr. Bradley OUTSIDE.
THE COURT. THIS IS IN COURT, UNDER OATH TESTIMONY.
MR. MCCORMICK. I object that he’s allowed to impeach his own witness. He’s called
his own witness, Judge.
THE COURT. That is my ruling.”
P. 1791; L. 13-23 (Emphasis Added)
Absent the Court’s latter ruling we might never have known what Maxon said, ON THE
STAND, in PCH:
“Q. [Bradley] Mr. Maxon, on April 9 in Ayer, what did you say, what time of day did you
say that Peters checked in the Remington 1100?
A [Maxon] I don’t remember the time, but I said the 30 th of January, sir.
Q What time?
A. 1430 [2:30 P.M.], I believe.
Mr. Bradley. That is all, Mr. Maxon, thank you.”
P. 1791; L. 25- P. 1792; l. 7
Now the state’s primary witness against Tyree, Earl Michael Peters, has been found to
- Perjured himself with regard to the sign-in of his shotgun.
- Been in the Tyree apartment on the day of the murder and either shortly before or at
the time of the murder, as understood from unrebutted testimony by Tyree in
- Removed the shotgun either shortly before or at the time of the murder (Tyree had
dropped off a baby seat at the apartment, less than one hour before the murder, then
picked up Elaine).
We also know, from his prior testimony, that his credibility was destroyed in PCH and he
had expressed a motive for the killing of Elaine Tyree. Another prosecution witness,
Maxon, has perjured himself twice, first in PCH, now in Superior Court.
And so, where are we, 36 years later, today, March 31, 2015?
Following the Killam Decision, the District Attorney of Middlesex County and the Ayer
Police Chief brought suit against Judge Killam’s court and clerk over Judge Killam’s
direction that Earl Michael Peters be arrested for the murder of Elaine Tyree. That suit
was filed in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJ-79-279) where, in a series of
secret negotiations, outside of the notice or knowledge of Aarhus or Tyree and without
notice to their attorneys, it was determined that Judge Killam’s direction regarding the
arrest of Peters was beyond his authority. Therefore, that portion of his Decision was
stricken. Judge Killam’s finding of probable cause against Peters for first degree murder,
however, remained in-tact. In the subsequently agreed judicial action, the SJC directed
that no further action be taken against any party in conjunction with Elaine Tyree’s murder
without the express approval of “a justice or justices of the Supreme Judicial Court…Filed
Nov 20, 1979”. Further, following unappealed “Motions in limine” in both the Aarhus
and Tyree Superior Court pre-trial hearings, any reference to the May 15, 1979 order of
Judge Killam finding probable cause for murder against Earl Michael Peters, or the
previously un-noticed proceedings in the Supreme Judicial Court, was prohibited in the
trials of Aarhus and Tyree. This appears to preclude the assertion of a third party
culprit defense in both the Aarhus and Tyree trials.
In February 1980, in separate trials, Erik Aarhus was convicted of murder in the first
degree, and William Tyree was convicted of conspiracy in that murder. They were both
sentenced to life without parole and have been confined in Commonwealth of
Massachusetts correctional facilities for the past 36 years.
The “Analysis of Killam Decision” was prepared, in part, from the following matters of record:
a) Hearings conducted in the Ayer, Massachusetts District Court (North Middlesex
Division), April 3 to May 15, 1979.
Case No. 271-272-273 of 1979 No. 308 & 367
Commonwealth of Mass. v. William M. Tyree, Jr. & Erik V. Aarhus
Special Justice James W. Killam, III, presiding
b) Pretrial hearings for William Tyree & Erik Aarhus
Case Nos. 1383,1385,1386
Middlesex County Superior Court, Cambridge, MA.
Dec. 7, 1979 – Jan. 25, 1980
c) Trial of William M. Tyree, Jr.
Case No. 1383
Middlesex County Superior Court, Cambridge, MA.
Feb. 02 – Feb. 29, 1980
The “Analysis” is a synthesis of numerous entries by Amsden 1 to the following Ayer, MA. news
Search: “TOPIX SERVING LIFE FOR MURDER, GREEN BERET…” ,
and edited by Rittgers 2 , who provided both the introductory paragraph and epilogue.
The incomplete probable cause and superior court transcripts were retrieved from the office of
Raymond Kohlman, Esq., Attleboro, MA. and the files of John Edginton, producer of the video
documentary cited below, U.K.
Copies of an A&E full-length documentary, MURDER AT FORT DEVENS (1998), are available
from Amsden 1 as well as copies of a 4-5 hour video deposition, relevant to the Tyree matter,
conducted in New Mexico, 1998.
1 Henry H. Amsden, P.O.A. for William Tyree –
2 Col. Forest S. Rittgers, Jr. (Ret.), former base commander,1979, Fort Devens, MA.;
This is the building where William Tyree worked and was the focal point of CID investigations of theft of military property