EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 8, 2013

Police review why hospital released woman before stabbing death

Officers put her in hospital due to drinking; she later killed boyfriend, report says

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — About 5 p.m. Monday, police received a report of a disturbance at 1 Water St., where they found Susan Lovejoy unsteady on her feet — apparently heavily intoxicated, according to a police report.

After talking to Lovejoy, 64, and her live-in boyfriend Kevin Paul, 51, officers determined she had too much to drink and had also taken pills, the report said. They decided to take her to Merrimack Valley Hospital for observation.

Several hours later, Lovejoy was released from the hospital and made her way back to her Water Street apartment, the report said. At 11:35 p.m., police returned to the apartment for a reported suicide, according to the report.

Officers found Paul dead from a stab would. They have charged Lovejoy with murder.

Donald Thompson, deputy chief of the police department, said he is reviewing why Lovejoy was released from the hospital, where she was taken due to her drunken and drugged condition. Thompson said he will also review what happened when police went to Apt. 306 on the initial report of a disturbance and why no arrests were made at that time.

According to the police report, a nurse at Merrimack Valley Hospital said Lovejoy was a patient from 6 to 9:23 p.m. on Monday. The nurse told police that Lovejoy said she was in an abusive relationship, the report said. The nurse said Lovejoy appeared upset that she was unable to get in touch with her son to pick her up, so she got money from the ATM in the emergency room lobby and called for a cab, the report said.

Lovejoy later told officers she had walked home from the hospital, police said. The 1 Water St. apartment building is at the corner of Water Street and Basiliere Bridge, near the eastern end of downtown, about two miles away.

When police first went to the apartment for the reported disturbance at 5:12 p.m. Monday, Lovejoy , who was partially naked, told police in slurred speech that Paul was a womanizer and abusive, according to the police report.

Paul, who also appeared to have been drinking, told police that the night before Lovejoy had taken 16 Adderall pills and two Percocet pills that weren’t prescribed to her. He said she continued drinking and was “out of her mind” and needed to be hospitalized, according to the police report. Police said Paul refused to tell them where the pills came from.

“While waiting for Trinity Ambulance, Ms. Lovejoy tried drinking whiskey but officers took the bottle away from her,” according to the police report on file in Haverhill District Court, where Lovejoy was arraigned yesterday and held without bail.

About 11:35 p.m. on Monday, police returned to the apartment on the suicide report. Officers found Paul lying on his back on the living room floor. Police said he was covered in blood, was not breathing and his pants were down around his knees. Lovejoy was kneeling next to him, police said.

Police said the walls of the living room were smeared in blood, and a small bit of white powder and two snorting straws were on a table, along with a black handle steak knife that did not have any blood on it. Lovejoy told officers that Paul had stabbed himself, according to a police report. Police then questioned Lovejoy and charged her with murder.

During Lovejoy’s court appearance yesterday, at the request Assistant District Attorney Jean Curran, Judge Stephen Abany ordered her held pending a pretrial hearing June 5. Lovejoy’s defense lawyer, John Apruzzese of the Massachusetts Committee for Pubic Council Services, filed motions seeking money to hire a private investigator and an expert witness, which Abany allowed.

Lovejoy responded to Abany’s questions as to whether she understood the charges against her by nodding. Abany entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf.

According to the police report, when officers returned to the apartment on the suicide report, they knocked on the door and a woman answered, “Come in.” Lovejoy told police that a half-hour earlier she was in her bedroom, when she heard a scream. She said she found Paul lying on the living room floor. She later told Haverhill police and State Police that after hearing the scream, she went to his bedroom and found him on the floor, face-down with a stab wound to his arm.

Lovejoy told police she tried to turn him over and applied a tourniquet to his arm, then went across the hall to another apartment for help. Police said they found blood stains on the apartment door.

Paul was transported to Merrimack Valley Hospital, where yesterday at 12:52 a.m. he was pronounced dead. Police said a doctor at the hospital described his injury as a “through and through” wound that went through his left rear tricep and exited the arm, nicking his upper torso. The doctor told police that Paul’s arm would have been flush against his body in order for the entry and exit wound to line up and that loss of blood was a major contributor to his death.

Police said that based on the location and depth of Paul’s penetrating wound, it was not consistent with a self-inflicted injury.

According to the police report, people living nearby said that an hour earlier they heard a woman’s voice coming from the apartment say “get out,” then heard two slams on the wall and the sounds of a man and woman arguing. The neighbors said it seemed like Paul was “on something often” and that on prior occasions they noticed “strange smells,” possibly from drugs, coming from the apartment next door, according to the police report.