GROVELAND — A lamp that police say was used to murder an elderly Groveland man, the town's first killing in 27 years, is just one piece of evidence prosecutors say they have against Leedell Graham.
Videos obtained by police show the 48-year-old Haverhill man walking away from the Governor's Road home of Patsy Schena, 82, on June 21 – the day Schena was found murdered, Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said Friday.
The handle of a knife and the victim's car keys were also found one-tenth of a mile away from Schena's house. And the knife blade was found by police when they searched the victim's home, DePaulo said.
Schena is a former, longtime building inspector in Groveland.
Both private and public video surveillance captured images of Graham walking away from Schena's home that day, DePaulo said.
Graham, 48, was held without bail after he was arraigned on the first-degree murder charge in Haverhill District Court Friday.
Authorities said Schena and Graham knew each other from "business dealings" and that Schena died as a result of "blunt and sharp force trauma."
District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and Groveland Police Chief Jeff Gillen said the "business dealings" were not related to any town business. They would not comment on a motive for the murder.
"I can't get into the facts at this time because it is an ongoing investigation," Blodgett said.
Then, in a move that's become routine for Blodgett's office in high-profile crimes, DePaulo asked for the police report and search warrant documents to be impounded, blocked, from the press and public's view.
A woman wept loudly in court during Graham's arraignment. She spoke briefly with Graham's defense attorney, public defender Jeanne Early, but then left court abruptly, declining to comment.
Thursday at 9:30 p.m., Graham, 48, was arrested at 52 Cedar St., Haverhill, and charged with Schena's murder.
Authorities said Graham is known to police for previous crimes, but would not detail a criminal record.
Court records show Graham has had 10 previous cases in Haverhill District Court. Records for three cases were available from the clerk's office on Friday and indicated Graham previously faced charges of illegal narcotics and conspiracy, defacing property and passing counterfeit notes.
In a Haverhill drug case handled on Dec. 17, 2018, Graham pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in Middleton Jail. Given credit for good behavior, Graham was released on April 26, said Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger.
Schena's family, in a statement released Friday, said, "We appreciate the hard work and diligence of the Essex County DA's Office, the Essex State Police detective Unit, the Groveland Police Department and the Haverhill Police department."
"We are especially grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. We request privacy from the media at this time as we lay our beloved father, and grandfather, to rest," according the statement which was distributed to the media by Carrie Kimball, Blodgett's spokesperson.
Gillen said Schena's death had "shaken our community" noted it was the first murder in Groveland since 1992.
"We are relieved to have this individual in custody, however, there is much work still to be done on this investigation," Blodgett said. "For that reason, I am unable to discuss the details of this investigation at this time. My goal is justice for Mr. Schena through a successful prosecution."
State police, Haverhill and Groveland police are continuing the investigation.
Gillen thanked members of the public for their patience.
"I understand that such an event causes anxiety and concern, however, it is imperative that information is limited while the investigation is unfolding in order to protect the investigation. I appreciate the efforts of the investigation in bringing this individual to justice," he said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.