I’ve been late in commenting on this because I’ve been swamped with work. But some very good news arrived last week when we learned that State Police arrested and charged four suspects in the murder and home invasion of Luke Vitalis in Sharon last summer.
As I suspected from the beginning, the murder is almost certain to have been drug-related. But the troopers deserve praise for pursuing this case just as doggedly as they would any other. And the animals who did this deserve swift and harsh justice.
Trooper Lonny Mo and the detectives from the Western District Major Crime Squad are to be congratulated for their persistence and skill in putting this case together. But I would urge restraint on the part of Luke’s friends on the Facebook page Mo established more than a year ago. In their jubilation, they should remember that there’s still a lot of work to do in order to get a conviction.
Some of the suspects have a history of drug involvement and arrests. We have not yet seen the arrest warrants, because they’re still sealed. But presumably the defense team has reviewed them. The attorney for one of the suspects charged with felony murder said at the arraignment, “This is one of the weakest murder cases I’ve ever been involved with. There is absolutely no forensic evidence involved.”
This could be the usual defense-attorney bluster, but the lawyer’s statement could also be a harbinger of the challenges the State’s Attorney’s office will have in securing a conviction. Or perhaps the suspects will plead guilty to lesser charges that will still keep them off the streets for many years.
I share the excitement of Luke’s family and friends that justice is close at hand. But at this time the case does not appear to be a slam dunk.