Prosecutor: Brother Masterminded Murder Plot
By: James Kinsella
A prosecutor argued in court yesterday that Treefon E. Manoloules planned twice to kill his brother—and succeeded the second time.
First Assistant District Attorney Brian S. Glenny of the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Office, said Mr. Manoloules, 52, initially organized a plot to kill Aris E. Manoloules by injecting him with an overdose of heroin at the latter’s vacation home in Hyannis.
When that plan fell apart at the last minute, Mr. Glenny said, Treefon Manoloules, who lives in Southborough, devised another scheme to have his brother killed during a feigned robbery at the Hyannis house.
This time, the alleged plan worked.
A year ago yesterday, on September 30, 2009, Barnstable police, responding to a request for a well-being check called in by Treefon Manoloules himself, found Aris Manoloules dead inside his house on Ripple Cove Drive near Hyannis Harbor. He had been shot multiple times, Mr. Glenny said.
Investigators quickly charged two individuals with the murder: Christopher Manoloules, now 18, who is Treefon Manoloules’s son, and Robert Upton, now 46, of Ipswich, who is Treefon Manoloules’s brother-in-law. Both are charged with first-degree murder and related offenses.
Almost 11 months later, on August 20, police arrested and charged Treefon Manoloules as the third defendant accused of the crime. On September 2, a Barnstable County grand jury indicted him on first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the murder of his brother.
Defendant Pleads ‘Not Guilty’
At his arraignment yesterday morning in Barnstable Superior Court, Mr. Manoloules in a loud voice said, “Not guilty, your honor,” to the charge of first-degree murder.
He also pleaded not guilty to the three other counts of the indictment:an attempt to commit a crime, murder, and two counts of conspiracy.
Mr. Manoloules has been held without bail since his arrest. Following a bail argument yesterday, Judge Gary A. Nickerson ordered the defendant to continue to be held without bail at the Barnstable County Correctional Facility.
Mr. Manoloules is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial conference on November 12. In yesterday’s bail argument—attended by Deborah Manoloules, the defendant’s wife, and Irene Manoloules, the defendant’s sister—the prosecution for the first time presented extensive details of what led to the murder charge against Mr. Manoloules.
‘Bad Blood’ In Family
Aris Manoloules, Mr. Glenny said, had served as a caretaker to his mother. When she died, in 2007, she bequeathed the bulk of her estate, reported to be worth possibly millions of dollars, to Aris and not to his brother, Trefon, or their only sister, Irene Manoloules.
The prosecutor said that generated “very bad blood in the family,” and, Mr. Glenny said, Treefon Manoloules began plotting to kill his brother.
The first plan called for Aris Manoloules to be injected with an overdose of heroin.
Mr. Glenny said Treefon Manoloules worked with Mr. Upton and unnamed others to plot the murder. To facilitate the plan, Mr. Glenny said, Treefon Manoloules supplied the money to purchase the syringes and heroin to be used in the killing.
The prosecutor said the plan almost came to fruition, but did not go forward at the last minute for an unnamed reason.
Mr. Glenny said Treefon Manoloules next began hatching a plan with Mr. Upton to stage a feigned robbery at the Hyannis house that would result in the death of his brother.
Funds Gun Purchase
His son, Christopher, then a 17-year-old high school senior, was enlisted to participate in the scheme. Mr. Glenny said Treefon Manoloules funded the purchase of a handgun at an off-Cape store to be used to murder his brother.
“That plan did come to fruition,” Mr. Glenny said.
Mr. Glenny asked Judge Nickerson to order that Trefon Manoloules continue to be held without bail, as had been agreed by the prosecution and the defense when Mr. Manoloules initially was arraigned on the murder charge on August 20 in Barnstable District Court.
Arguing the other side, Attorney Louis Aloise of Worcester, representing the defendant, asked that the judge reduce his client’s bail to $25,000 cash and place him on pretrial probation, including conditions that he wear a global positioning system bracelet and remain under house arrest except for making necessary trips such as to his doctor’s office.
In support of his argument, Mr. Aloise said Treefon Manoloules had fully cooperated with police, prosecutors and grand jurors investigating the death of Aris Manoloules.
Within a day of the murder, Mr. Aloise said, Christopher Manoloules told his father, Treefon Manoloules, that “something very bad” had happened to Christopher’s uncle, Aris Manoloules.
“It was Treefon Manoloules who called the police,” Mr. Aloise said—first the police in Framingham, where Aris Manoloules had his permanent residence, and then the police on the Cape.
It further was Treefon Manoloules, his attorney said, who requested the well-being check by the Barnstable police which resulted in the discovery of the body.
And it also was Treefon Manoloules who welcomed the police into his home to interview his son about what occurred, Mr. Aloise said.
The attorney said Christopher Manoloules proceeded to tell police that he set off for the Cape the prior day with his uncle, Mr. Upton, to rob Aris Manoloules.
When the two individuals entered the house, Christopher said, Mr. Upton shot Aris Manoloules a number of times.
“Christopher was manipulated by Robert Upton,” Mr. Aloise said. “It was Treefon Manoloules who put law enforcement on the path as to what happened” to Aris Manoloules.
The attorney said Treefon and Deborah Manoloules were called before the grand jury, where they testified in the investigation. Mr. Aloise said, Treefon Manoloules could have invoked the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, but chose not to do so.
Mr. Upton’s court-appointed defense attorney, Daniel Solomon of Sandwich and Boston, previously said in open court that Treefon Manoloules had organized the murder of Aris Manoloules. But Mr. Aloise questioned the motive of Mr. Upton—a man with financial difficulties who had both a wife and girlfriend—in pointing the finger at Trefon Manoloules.
Argues For Bail
Judges usually order murder defendants held without bail, given the flight risk of someone facing serious punishment entailed by a murder conviction.
But Mr. Aloise said the cooperation shown by Mr. Manoloules, along with his community roots, argued for the posting of a cash bail.
In response to subsequent questions from Judge Nickerson, Mr. Aloise said Treefon Manoloules worked as a software consultant and that the company employing him was holding his position open should he be released. The arrest report filed by the state police for the district court arraignment, however, gives his occupation as “unemployed.”
Mr. Aloise further said that larceny charges brought against Treefon Manoloules in 1995 and 1996 were based on allegations of bad checks.
Judge Nickerson then asked Mr. Glenny if Mr. Upton and Christopher Manoloules were being held without bail. Mr. Glenny said they were.
The judge then silently handed a piece of paper to assistant court magistrate Scott D. Colgan, who announced Treefon Manoloules would also be held without bail on the charges.
FOR A RELATED ARTICLE ENTITLED, “PORTRAIT OF A MURDER,” SEE THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE BARNSTABLE ENTERPRISE.