Athol Daily News - Athol Mann pleads not guilty to murder

Published: 1/16/2020, 9:56:42 AM

Changed: 16.01.2020, 09:56:11 a.m.

GREENFIELD – The Athol man accused of killing a 26-year-old Leominster woman on November 11 was detained bail after pleading guilty to the Franklin County Superior Court on Wednesday heavy.

Keith D. Hamel, 23, was charged at the Franklin County Justice Center when his family watched. He is murdered once, once armed robbery, twice misleading police and manipulated four times. If he is convicted of murder in the first degree, he is serving a life sentence without parole.

Hamel is said to have killed Kelsey Clifford, whose body was found on November 11 in front of the locked gates of the entrance to the sewage treatment plant in Athol with at least 15 stab wounds to the head and face.

According to Jeremy Bucci, chief trial counsel who is pursuing the case, Hamel’s best friend was with Clifford. Hamel is defended by lawyer John Morris.

According to prosecutors, Clifford was found face down without a cell phone and all her money was missing. Later that day, the police found Hamel’s sweatshirt in a bush on Leonard Street, between the crime scene and his home on Silver Lake Street. The sweatshirt had Clifford’s blood on the outside and Hamel’s DNA on the inside of one sleeve. Hamel’s DNA was also obtained from Clifford’s genital area.

The prosecution’s statement also alleges that Hamel lied to the investigators when they were questioned on November 11, telling them that he had no phone on the day of the murder and that he was with a teenage girl early on while driving with Clifford Morning. He reportedly repeated the same lies the following day. Investigators said Hamel had destroyed his cell phone and deleted Facebook messages between him and Clifford on both cell phones. Investigators also learned that Hamel was alone with Clifford on the day of the murder.

Clifford’s family declined to speak to the press. Three people, two women and one man, who identified themselves as Hamel’s family members but refused to give their names, said Hamel was innocent. They argued that the state was only trying to close the case quickly, an allegation that Bucci refuted in front of the courtroom.

“We understand that this family wants to support their son and brother,” said Bucci. And when the public is ready to see this in court, they will understand that no stone – literally no stone – remained intact. ”

An extrajudicial conference is scheduled for February 14th

“This is when we are likely to deliver most, if not all, of the discovery we have to defend,” said Bucci. “It’s out of court and essentially between the lawyers, where I have to make sure everything has been made available to him by that date.”

A court hearing is scheduled for April 10, when Bucci is expected to discuss possible trial dates. He believes the process could start a year from April.

Hamel was arrested at 4:40 p.m. on November 18. on Main Street in Athol. At the time of Clifford’s death, Hamel had eight open adult criminal records pending at the Orange District Court. Previously, he had been charged under $ 1,200 for theft, for being a transitional judge, refusing to be arrested, possessing a Class B drug, and having two assault charges and battery charges against a police officer.

You can reach Domenic Poli at: or
413-772-0261, extension 262.