Weymouth, Massachusetts – Jury selection is set to commence on Monday for the retrial of Emanuel Lopes, a 26-year-old facing murder charges for the 2018 deaths of Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna and Weymouth resident Vera Adams. Lopes’ first trial ended in a mistrial on July 10 when one juror refused to continue deliberations. The new trial will take place at Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, with jurors being selected at Bristol Superior Court in Taunton.
Lopes’ defense attorney, Larry Tipton, successfully argued for a jury from outside Norfolk County, citing the extensive media coverage and mistrial of the first trial. At the previous hearing, Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Tracey Cusick revealed that the jury for the initial trial was selected from a pool of 400 people, a process that took a week. Tipton’s request for a six-month trial postponement to search for additional expert witnesses was denied.
The case involves the fatal shootings of Chesna and Adams on July 15, 2018. Prosecutors allege that Lopes, then 20 years old, fled from a minor traffic accident and encountered Chesna, whom he hit in the head with a rock. They claim Lopes then used Chesna’s own gun to shoot both the officer and Adams, a 77-year-old woman on her sunporch. Lopes was arrested at the scene while still holding Chesna’s gun, which was out of ammunition. He has been held without bail since his arrest and was indicted on 11 charges, including two counts of first-degree murder.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Lopes faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. It is important to note that Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1984, so capital punishment is not a possible sentence in this case. During the first trial, Tipton did not dispute that Lopes fired the shots but argued that his client’s actions should be attributed to mental illness, worsened by preceding events.
Sgt. Chesna, 42, served as a Weymouth police officer for six years and had previously served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a highly decorated officer, having received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Chesna is survived by his wife, Cindy, and two children. Vera Adams, the other victim, was fond of reading, and a reading room at Weymouth’s Tufts Library bears her name.
As the retrial begins, the families of the victims and the community as a whole will be closely watching to see justice served for the tragic events that unfolded on that fateful day in 2018.