Seven witnesses took the stand Tuesday, day one of testimony in the murder trial of Rose Chase. She’s accused of killing her husband, Adam Chase, in June 2012 in their home in the hamlet of Stanley, Ontario County.
Rose is charged with 2nd degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, and endangering the welfare of a child. She’s accused of pushing her husband down two flights of stairs, dismembering his body and burning his remains.
Adam’s mother, Sylvia, was the first to testify and provided potentially damaging testimony. She told the court she received a photo in June of last year of Rose Chase sitting closely on park bench with a man who was not her husband. Sylvia Chase said she confronted her daughter-in-law, who denied an affair, saying the man was just a friend.
The photo was taken by Rebecca Grube, a friend of Adam Chase’s sister, Jessica Chase. Grube testified she saw Rose touching and kissing the man in Kershaw Park in Canandaigua.
After confronting Sylvia about the photo, Sylvia said Rose told her the next day that her and Adam had an argument, and Adam went missing and did not come home. After a couple days had passed, Sylvia said she told a school resource officer at Marcus Whitman schools, where Sylvia works, about her son’s disappearance. That officer called 911 and the investigation was underway.
Jurors also heard from Bill Wellman, an investigator with the Ontario County Sheriff's Office. He testified he went to the Chase home because Rose was upset that Adam's family was protesting outside. Wellman said the protestors had signs stating "Sheriff search the house." Wellman said Rose allowed him to search, and although he smelled an odor in the basement, he attributed it to dampness and a couple of dead bats.
District Attorney Mike Tantillo, said a friend of Adam's, Rodney Miller, asked Rose's babysitter in December to tell her there was a break in the case. Miller is a former Ontario County Sheriff's deputy. He said when he followed up with Rose, he asked her where Adam was buried. Miller said, Rose told him "he's not buried, I burned it," and then she took the remains to her mother's house in Potter, Yates County. Miller called police.
During a police interview, Rose is heard explaining that Adam fell down stairs. She said she didn't do it intentionally. When asked by the investigator why she didn't call police, Rose said she wanted him to die.
The D.A. said Rose then pushed him down the basement stairs, and covered his body. He said she would later dismember his body, and burn the remains in a bonfire at her mother's home.
Rose's attorney said Adam's death is tragic, unfortunate and unnecessary. But she said the District Attorney won't be able to prove without a reasonable doubt Rose killed him intentionally, because no one witnessed his fall. Leanne Lapp said not every death is a crime, not every death is a murder.
Testimony will resume Wednesday morning. If convicted on the charges, Rose Chase faces 25 years to life in prison.