The prosecution in the Andrew P. Puopolo '77 murder retrial argued yesterday that the three defendants acted together when they fought with Harvard football players in Boston's Combat Zone on the morning of the fatal stabbing in 1976.
Thomas J. Mundy Jr., Suffolk County assistant district attorney, said the defendants cooperated with prostitues who attempted to rob Charles Kaye '77, a teammate of Puopolo's, by "creating confusion and commotion to allow (the prostitutes) to escape."
Eyewitnesses in the first trial testified that Leon Easterling was the only person who stabbed Puopolo and Thomas Lincoln '77, another team member. Mundy is trying to prove that all three defendants are guilty of first-degree murder because their attack on the football players was premeditated.
Puopolo died on Dec. 17, 1976, a month after the stabbing, in New England Medical Center. Easterling, Richard S. Allen and Edward Soares were convicted of the murder in March 1977, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court granted them a retrial earlier this year after ruling the prosecution in the original trial had systematically eliminated blacks from the jury. The defendants are black.
To The Defense
Defense attorneys yesterday protested Mundy's arguments on two technical points. They said Mundy failed to prove that the defendants regularly collaborated with prostitutes and imprope ly introduced past crimes as evidence against the accused.
Responding to Mundy's questions, Naomi J. Axel, one of the prostitutes who accosted the football players on the night of the stabbing, testified yesterday that the type of collaboration Mundy described is common in the Zone. She added that at least one of the defendants. Allen, had helped prostitutes rob pedestrians before the 1976 incident.
Axel also said she saw Allen near the site of the stabbings on Boylston St. with "six or seven other black men" on the morning of the stabbings.
Henry F. Owens III, Allen's attorney, said "prior crimes are not admissible as evidence unless there are some extenuating circumstances," adding that Mundy was trying to "prejudice the minds of the jurors."
Norman S. Zalkind, Easterling's attorney, called the prosecution's argument that the defendants regularly collaborated with prostitutes "sophistry" and "the most speculation I've ever seen in a case." Zalkind said Mundy would improperly influence the jury by associating the defendants with the prostitutes.
James P. McGuire, Suffolk County Superior Court judge, had dismissed the jury before he allowed the lawyers to question Axel.
McGuire will rule on the defense's protest today.