EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 12, 2013

Hale a no-show again at arraignment

LAWRENCE — Claiming illness and hospitalization, retired city police officer William Hale did not show up again for his arraignment on forgery and larceny charges in Lawrence District Court yesterday morning.

Hale, 77, is accused of bilking nearly $70,000 from an elderly Andover Street woman. Criminal charges were filed against him in January and yesterday was his third scheduled arraignment date on the charges.

Local defense attorney Stephen Wright appeared on his behalf, saying Hale did not appear in court “due to the fact he’s in the hospital.”

The arraignment was rescheduled for May 8.

The 33-year police officer recently asked for a hearing before the state appeals court to be postponed, saying he has cancer and a blood clot in his leg. The appeals court denied his request, deciding instead to base their decision on legal briefs already filed with the court.

Hale claims he is the rightful beneficiary of the will of Elizabeth Lacey, who died at age 89 in 2007. But her friends and surrogate family members were shocked when she died and left everything to Hale, a man she said she disliked because he badgered her for money.

In July 2011, Judge Mary Ann Sahagian threw out the Hale will and approved an earlier will leaving everything to James Wareing, Wareing’s mother Joan McGuire and his two twin sisters, Denise Clegg and Diane Forrester. Wareing, his mother and sisters were Lacey’s friends for decades.

Hale appealed Sahagian’s decision on the will to the state appeals court.

In January, state police filed uttering, larceny and forgery charges against Hale. He is accused of cashing $66,000 in Lacey’s checks before and after her death. When he was questioned about the checks, during civil and probate trials, Hale repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

Lacey owned a home at 418 Andover St., which was worth $175,000 at the time of her death. She also had another $170,000 in savings and checking accounts.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

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