Stanley woman was convicted of intentionally killing her husband in 2012 and transporting his decomposing body to another residence several weeks later, ultimately burning the remains
A murder conviction will stand against a former Stanley woman accused of killing her husband by pushing him down two flights of stairs in June 2012 and later burning his dismembered body.
The state Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in a decision released Friday, upheld the second-degree murder conviction of Rose Chase, 36, in the 2012 death of her husband Adam, 31.
The higher court, however, reversed a part of the conviction by dismissing a charge of endangering the welfare of a child that resulted from Chase transporting the dismembered, decomposing body of her husband to her mother's house several weeks after the murder, while their 4-year-old son was in the car. Two justices disagreed with that part of the ruling, saying they would have upheld Chase's conviction in Ontario County Court on all three charges and not dismissed any counts.
“We're happy with the decision,” said Ontario County Assistant District Attorney Heather Hines, who worked on the case with former District Attorney Michael Tantillo. “I'm pleased with the decision and I think that based on the way the evidence was presented and the case was presented, that this was a good result overall with the conviction.”
She said say she was disappointed with the reversal on the child endangerment charge.
Chase was represented on appeal by Rochester attorney Gary Muldoon, who said he will ask the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, to hear the case.
Chase, who was also convicted of tampering with physical evidence, is serving a sentence of 24 years to life in prison. She currently is housed at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County.
Rose and Adam Chase, according to published reports, got into an argument on June 14, 2012 at their home at 2215 Mott Road.
In a later interview with police, Rose Chase said the argument turned physical and her husband fell down the stairs. She then dragged his body to the top of the basement stairs and pushed it into the basement, the account goes.
In late July or early August 2012, she took his decomposing, dismembered body from their home and transported it to her mother's Hagerty Road house in Potter, where she cremated the body and disposed of the remains in a trash can, according to the three-page decision.
Hines said there was no evidence to show the mother was aware of what happened or participated.
The panel of five justices agreed the prosecution improperly delayed turning over certain statements made to police, but said the defendant failed to show it was prejudicial enough to warrant a reversal of the murder charge.
Muldoon argued before the higher court on Nov. 27 that the material was relevant for a jury to determine whether or not Chase's confession was voluntarily made.
Tantillo, who retired Dec. 31, countered the statement was an inconsequential text message he sent to the interrogating investigator asking him to have Chase be more specific in her responses and for the officer to more forceful in his questioning of her.
The panel also rejected Chase's claim that Ontario County Court Judge William F. Kocher erred in limiting the crossxamination of a police officer by saying the defense could ask whether the officer communicated with the district attorney during his interview of Chase, but could not ask about the specific contents of the communication.
The panel notes the trial court has broad discretion in deciding what testimony may or may not be heard at trial, and such decisions should not be changed unless there is an abuse of discretion, which was not found to be the case.
The defense also raised a question of whether Chase intended to kill her husband. The panel noted intent could be inferred from her conduct and the circumstances surrounding the crime, noting there was no dispute Chase was responsible for her husband's death, hid his body for several weeks at her home and then drove it to her mother's where she cremated the remains.
With respect to the dismissed charge, the higher count found the prosecution presented no evidence the child was aware his father's body was in the vehicle, or that he was upset by any sights or smells in the car or later at his grandmother's house, and that prosecutors failed to establish the child's riding in the car with the body was likely to result in physical, mental or moral harm.
Presiding Justice Gerald J. Whalen and Justice Joanne W. Winslow disagreed, saying jurors, drawing from their own experiences and common-sense understanding of the nature of children — and the child's inevitable knowledge of what actually happened — could have reasonably concluded that taking the child with her while transporting the body of the man he knew as his father was “likely to have caused the child harm” and Chase knew what she was doing could likely harm the boy.