(David L. Ryan /Globe Staff)
Bethell pointed to the ball field behind
By John R. Ellement and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
The fiancee of a slain off-duty Revere police office described for the first time today in court the drunken bravado and juvenile antics that preceded the fatal shooting on a high school baseball field.
Daniel Talbot and three other off-duty but armed police officers had been drinking in a restaurant bar until 1 a.m., but they wanted more and lugged beers to the bleachers behind their alma mater, Revere High School.
"I didn't understand why we had to go to the field," the fiancee, Constance Bethell, testified today in Suffolk Superior Court. "We had a house. We were adults, but I was overruled."
Bethell told the jury that her fiancee was "not sober" that night, had a "confrontational" nature, and initiated the dispute that morning by loudly mocking and taunting 17-year-old Derek Lodie as he walked by. She also described holding Talbot's hand while he gasped for breath as he lay dying from a gunshot wound in the head.
Bethell took the stand in the first day of testimony in the trial of
Robert Iacoveillo Jr., a 22-year-old charged with first-degree murder
for allegedly pulling the trigger on Sept. 29, 2007.
The second defendant, James Heang, 19, is accused of being an accessory after the fact for allegedly hiding the gun. Two other young defendants -- Lodie and Gia Nagy -- have already pleaded guilty.
Defense attorney Peter B. Krupp said in opening statement that Iacoveillo "did not murder Daniel Talbot." Krupp suggested that his client acted in self defense and told the jury that two cooperating witnesses will falsely implicate Iacoveillo to avoid their own prosecution.
Heang's attorney, Willie Davis, also refuted the charges, telling the jury that his client was asleep when the shooting occurred.
Talbot served in the department's gang unit and had a habit when he was off duty of mocking the speech and hand signals used by the gang bangers he policed, Bethell said. In the bleachers that night, Talbot, 30, saw a 17-year-old Lodie walk by in a red, gang-colored T-shirt. Talbot shouted and mocked the teen.
"He said something loud. It didn't make any sense to me," Bethell testified today. "He was role playing (as a) gang member. He thought he was making a joke."
Lodie walked away, but came back a short time later with what Bethell described as a threat. "You are going to see what's up now," Lodie said, according to Bethell's testimony. "You are going to see what's up."
Talbot left the bleachers and confronted Lodie. "As Dan was walking towards him, I yelled at him to stop," Bethell testified. "There was no need to fight in the field. He just continued to walk forward."
Another off-duty officer, William "Billy" Soto, followed Talbot. In the distance, Bethell saw three shadowy figures and noticed Lodi talking on his cellphone, according to her testimony. Then she saw a muzzle flash and heard a gunshot.
"I ran back to where Danny was lying on the field," Bethell said. "I held his hand. He was gasping for air. He wasn't conscious. He was trying to breathe. I knew he was shot, but I didn't see it because Billy kept his head covered."
Talbot was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital where he died a day later. Bethel said he never regained consciousness.
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