Dedham, MA – A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a convicted felon accused of murdering Weymouth Police Sergeant Michael Chesna with a rock and the sergeant’s duty pistol in 2018.
Emanuel Lopes, 25, was also charged with the murder of 77-year-old Vera Adams, who was standing on her porch when Lopes allegedly used the slain sergeant’s weapon to shoot at her three times, The Patriot Ledger reported.
Jurors began deliberating on June 28 after a three-week trial, according to WCVB.
An alternate juror replaced one of the deliberating jurors on July 5.
Two days later, a juror broke down in tears inside the courtroom after jury discussions allegedly began falling apart, WCVB reported.
A series of sidebars between the judge and the attorneys ensued before the jury was ultimately dismissed for the weekend.
Shortly after the jury’s deliberations resumed on Monday morning, they came back with a question that triggered another sidebar between the judge and the attorneys, WCVB reported.
The judge then brought the jury back into the courtroom and declared the mistrial.
Sgt. Chesna’s widow sobbed loudly as the outcome was announced, The Patriot Ledger reported.
The slain 42-year-old hero was also the father of two young girls who were just four and nine at the time of his murder, according to WCVB.
In addition to allegedly murdering Sgt. Chesna and Adams, Lopes was also on trial for two counts of armed assault with intent to murder involving a firearm, larceny of a firearm, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a rock), carrying a firearm without an FID card, negligent driving, use of a motor vehicle without authority, malicious destruction of property, and leaving the scene of a collision causing property damage, The Patriot Ledger reported.
He faced a potential life sentence without the possibility of parole on each of the first-degree murder charges, had he been convicted.
The district attorney has already confirmed intent to seek a new trial, The Patriot Ledger reported.
The judge scheduled a meeting on the matter to take place on July 21.
Weymouth Police Department (WPD) Chief Richard Fuller, who was in the courtroom when the mistrial was declared, said he and Sgt. Chesna’s loved ones were “extremely disappointed” by the outcome, The Patriot Ledger reported.
“No family should have to endure what this family has had to,” Chief Fuller said. “We will have justice.”
Judge declares mistrial in the Manny Lopes murder trial for killing Weymouth Police Sgt Michael Chesna and Ms. Vera Adams. What a disgrace. Norfolk County DAs office to retry the case. pic.twitter.com/mG9hTUrlna
— Mass Police Assoc (@MassPoliceAssoc) July 10, 2023
The series of events leading to the double homicide began on July 15, 2018, at approximately 7:30 a.m., when Lopes crashed his vehicle after driving erratically in the area of South Shore Hospital, WPRI reported.
Sgt. Chesna responded to the area and spotted Lopes “actively vandalizing a home” in Burton Terrace, Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Greg Connor said during a press conference at the time.
Sgt. Chesna got out of his patrol vehicle with his duty weapon drawn and ordered Lopes to stop, Connor explained.
He began chasing the suspect, who attacked Sgt. Chesna by hitting him in the head with a large rock, WCVB reported.
The strike knocked Sgt. Chesna to the ground, Connor said.
Lopes then stole the sergeant’s duty weapon and shot him several times in the head and chest.
Sgt. Chesna was rushed to South Shore Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
— Cassy Arsenault (@CassyArsenault) July 15, 2018
As other officers chased after Lopes on foot, he fired Sgt. Chesna’s weapon three more times, fatally striking Adams as she stood out on her sunporch.
Lopes was also hit once in his lower leg during the shootout with police, Connor said.
He was subsequently apprehended and transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Lopes’ attorney, Larry Tipton, did not dispute allegations his client shot Sgt. Chesna or Adams, but argued Lopes was suffering from extreme mental illness at the time of the murders, The Patriot Ledger reported.
Tipton said Lopes was in “a state of oblivion” when the incident occurred and that he did not understand his actions.
BREAKING: A judge has declared a mistrial in the Emanuel Lopes trial.
He’s accused of killing Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna and an innocent bystander during a violent confrontation in 2018. pic.twitter.com/T4jG772xnq
— Rob Way (@RobWayTV) July 10, 2023
Sgt. Chesna was killed just one day shy of his sixth anniversary with the department, then-Weymouth Police Chief Richard Grimes said shortly after the deadly shooting.
He was assigned to the Traffic Division’s midnight shift.
“I would see him in the morning coming in from the street and he always had a kind word and a good attitude,” Chief Grimes recalled. “He was one of those people that truly sought this job, was fortunate enough to get it, and very much appreciated it, and we very much appreciated his service to the Weymouth Police Department.”
Prior to his career in law enforcement, Sgt. Chesna served in the U.S. Army, including several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, WCVB reported.
According to The Boston Herald, Lopes was free on bail on a drug distribution charge when the shooting occurred.
He had violated the conditions of his probation multiple times in the months leading up to the incident, but was still allowed to remain out on the streets.