WOONSOCKET â Jury selection is expected to begin today in the Superior Court trial of a man accused of repeatedly stabbing his girlfriend to death in their Park Square apartment in March 2009.
But the victimâs mother, Jo-Ann Boyer of Pawtucket, said she is still hopeful that accused killer David P. Leite will cop a plea and spare family members the trauma of a trial.
âWeâd like to have some closure after all this time,â said Boyer. âBut none of us is looking forward to having to live through all this again.â
Leite, 35, is charged with one count of domestic homicide in the death of Melissa Perry, 32, a mother of two who moved in with Leite on Ormond Street after meeting him on myspace.com.
Police found her body in the second-story apartment on March 14, 2009, after Leite crashed his car into a tree on Old Louisquisset Pike in Lincoln. He told responding officers that there had been a murder and where the victimâs remains could be found.
Other than describing Perry as a victim of multiple stab wounds that she allegedly suffered at Leiteâs hands, police have released few details about her killing.
âWhat he did to her was horrific,â says Boyer.
Perry had been seeing Leite since November 2008, but she had been living with her mother in Pawtucket until a few weeks before she was killed, family members say.
After getting a job as a certified nursing assistant at Mt. St. Francis Health Center, she moved in with him at the Ormond Street apartment. Perry, whose children were living elsewhere with their father, liked the location because she didnât have a car and the nursing home was within walking distance to the apartment. Family members say she loved her job and was excited about making a fresh start in the city.
Leite was working for the Amazing Superstore, a national chain that distributes pornographic videos, when he met Perry.
Family members say Leite seemed kind and responsible when he first starting dating Perry, but he grew increasingly controlling and paranoid in the weeks leading up to her death. Boyer says her daughter couldnât step out for a cigarette break without being grilled by Leite afterwards about her whereabouts, and he tried to keep tabs on her by opening her e-mails and constantly texting her at work.
Boyer says her daughter had made up her mind to break it off with Leite shortly before she was murdered.
Police say state prosecutors have informed them the trial could take one to two weeks. If convicted, Leite is facing 20 years to life at the Adult Correctional Institutions.
Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, said she could not comment on whether a plea bargain is likely.
As of Monday afternoon, she said, prosecutors were still expecting to put Leite on trial.