South Hadley man pleads not guilty to charges of murder, arson in death of his father

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 12-19-2022 1:37 PM

BELCHERTOWN — A 35-year-old South Hadley man charged with the September killing of his father in Hampshire County’s second homicide of the year, pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted arson of a dwelling in Eastern Hampshire District Court on Monday.

Judge Bruce S. Melikian read the charges against Craig R. Weise and ordered that he be held without bail and return for a pretrial conference on Jan. 20.

Investigators allege that on Sept. 9, Weise killed his father in their shared home at 37 Lawn St. in South Hadley and then attempted to set the house on fire. South Hadley Police were called to the home that day at around 4 p.m. by a home health care agency, where police discovered the body of David Weise Sr., 70, and evidence of recent burning within the home. The office of the chief medical examiner later ruled the death a homicide.

Weise was arrested in Holyoke a day later, on Sept. 10, on unrelated charges for allegedly assaulting Holyoke Police Department officers who approached him to talk about the investigation over the death of his father. Weise was later charged with the murder and has been detained at the Hampden County House of Correction in Ludlow since then.

At Monday’s arraignment, Weise’s attorney, Donald W. Frank, requested his client be provided a copy of the probable cause statement, which had been impounded. Judge Melikian agreed on the condition that Weise not disclose any of the information from the probable cause statement to anyone else.

Frank also requested that Weise be transferred from the Hampden County House of Corrections to the Hampshire County House of Corrections in Northampton. Melikian denied the request, but said the idea could be reexamined as the case proceeds.

Weise is expected to be given a new court-appointed attorney for the Jan. 20 pretrial hearing. Frank, selected from a list of attorneys who specialize in covering murder cases, said he is too busy with other cases to continue to represent Weise.

The prosecutor in the case is Jennifer Suhl, the deputy district attorney of the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

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The case continues to be investigated jointly by the Hampshire/Franklin State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Northwestern district attorney’s office and the South Hadley Police Department, with assistance from personnel assigned to the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit (West), the State Police Crime Scene Services and the State Police Crime Laboratory.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amacdougall@gazettenet.com.

 

 

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