Oct. 6, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tim Connolly 508 368-7236
or Paul Jarvey 508-368-7241
WORCESTER – A Worcester Superior Court jury found LeeAnne Chesko guilty of first-degree murder today in the 2011 beating and stabbing death of businessman Francis Spokis in his Rutland home, according to District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.
The verdict, which came after seven hours of deliberation over two days, carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Judge Richard Tucker scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m., Oct. 14.
The jury voted unanimously that the slaying was a felony murder, one of three theories of first-degree murder presented by prosecutors.
Mr. Spokis, 52, who owned an auto body shop on Franklin Street in Worcester, died on or about July 6, 2011. Police found his body four days later in the basement of his home when family members returned from vacation.
Ms. Chesko, 27, and her former boyfriend, James Rutherford, also robbed the Spokis home. Mr. Rutherford was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison late last year.
Mr. Early praised Assistant District Attorneys Terry J. McLaughlin and Cheryl R. Riddle for their successful prosecution of the case, and Rutland Police and the State Police Detectives Assigned to the District Attorney’s Office for their investigation.
“The thoroughness of the investigation on what was not an easy case was incredible,” Mr. Early said. “They connected the dots, which allowed us to charge and ultimately get first-degree murder convictions, thereby giving the Spokis family some sense of closure.”