Suspect in death of woman found at treatment plant faces new charges

Keith Hamel faces charges of armed robbery, misleading police, and tampering with evidence, in addition to the murder charge.

Keith Hamel in Orange District Court on Tuesday.
Keith Hamel in Orange District Court on Tuesday. –WBZ-TV

GREENFIELD, Mass. (AP) — An Athol man charged with killing a 26-year-old woman whose body was found outside a wastewater treatment plant has been held without bail after pleading not guilty to new charges.

Keith Hamel, 23, of Athol, was arraigned Wednesday in Franklin Superior Court in connection with the death of Kelsey Clifford. His attorney did not contest the bail request. His family refused comment outside of court.

Hamel was originally arraigned on a murder charge back on Nov. 20, according to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. He was arraigned Wednesday on one count of armed robbery, two counts of misleading police, and four counts of tampering with evidence, the district attorney’s office said in a separate news release.

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“Hamel lied to investigators about various details of the case in an effort to distance himself from the murder, destroyed his cell phone and deleted Facebook messages with Clifford from his and her accounts,” prosecutors said in the release.

Clifford, 26, of Leominster, was found stabbed to death outside the locked gates of the Athol Wastewater Treatment plant on Nov. 11. Her cellphone and all her money were missing.

Hamel’s best friend was dating Clifford, prosecutors said.

Hamel’s DNA was found on Clifford’s clothing and body, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors did not say why Hamel and Clifford were together, but said that information, along with possible motives, would be revealed at trial.

Note: Boston.com’s Arianna MacNeill contributed to this report.

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