SPENCER — The death of a 20-year-old woman in a Pleasant Street apartment Wednesday is being labeled suspicious, and her brother-in-law is being held on $100,000 bail on a charge he lied to police investigating the death.
Steven D. West, 21, of 14 Pleasant St. was arraigned in East Brookfield District Court today on the charge of intimidation of a witness, a broad statute which includes providing false information to police. He pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $100,000 cash.
The body of Alyssa A. Haden, also of 14 Pleasant St., was discovered in the apartment Wednesday morning by her brother, Donald Haden III, Spencer police said in a report filed in court. The state medical examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine cause of death.
According to court documents, Spencer police were called to the apartment Haden shared with her twin sister, Caitlin West, who is married to West. Police said in the report that Haden had “obvious signs of death” and a small wound on her neck.
In court, Worcester Assistant District Attorney Brett Dillon told Judge Paul Losapio it was too early in the investigation to determine whether West would face additional charges. He said West has ties to Indiana and has not been in Massachusetts for very long. He said West did not appear to have an out-of-state criminal record.
Police wrote that she had “lividity inconsistent with the position of the body.” Such a discovery could mean the body had been moved.
In July, Haden was displaced from her family home on Grove Street after a fire that was later ruled arson. The fire started in Haden’s bedroom and killed some family pets. West was at the scene of that fire and was carrying a cat in a carrier that had been rescued from the home.
West’s court-appointed lawyer Michael Hussey said it was unclear to him what West had done to allegedly mislead police and whether the death was a homicide.
Members of Haden’s family, including West’s wife, who is pregnant with her second child, quickly left court after the arraignment, shouting at reporters before driving away. West, clad in black, said nothing during the arraignment. He is due back in court on Nov. 12.