Police Charge Two Relatives In Hyannis Murder
By: James Kinsella and Laura M. Reckford
Two days before his murder, Aris E. Manoloules told a friend that he was surprised that his nephew and nephew’s uncle wanted to go fishing with him last Wednesday. That is the day that Barnstable police found him shot to death in his home on Ripple Cove Road in Hyannis. His nephew and the nephew’s uncle have been charged with the crime.
Angela Hastings of Dunstable, a close friend of Aris Manoloules and one of those devastated by the news of his death, said Mr. Manoloules had been on the phone with her mother earlier last week and mentioned the fishing trip.
She said Ari, as everyone called him, “was a caring, loving individual to everyone. . . . When his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Ari devoted his entire time caring and nursing his mother until her death a few years back.”
Ms. Hastings said the bad blood between Ari and his family had been ongoing for years.
“As any of Ari’s friends would say, Ari’s immediate family was constantly picking fights with Ari, threatening him and demanding money, and more money. They felt Ari had inherited more than they did and demanded more,” she wrote in an e-mail yesterday.
Ms. Hastings described Ari Manoloules as a joyful man full of faith, despite his problems with his family. “Ari was always happy. A gentle man, he thought of others before himself. He always smiled and was good company. He loved his faith, church and friends. He told great stories and loved the Patriots and Red Sox. Ever since his mother’s death, he mentioned how bad his immediate family members were treating him yet, he had faith and hoped some day they would change and just love him.”
The police investigation into the murder of Aris Manoloules began with a request from his brother, Treefon Manoloules for a “well-being check.”
In response, Barnstable police walked into Aris Manoloules’s summer home and found him shot to death.
Within 36 hours, Barnstable and state police had arrested two family members for Mr. Manoloules’s murder: his nephew, Christopher Manoloules, 17, of Southborough, and Robert L. Upton, 45, of Ipswich, his relative by marriage.
Christopher Manoloules was arraigned Thursday in Barnstable District Court on charges of murder and an attempt to commit a crime, armed robbery. Mr. Upton was arraigned Friday in district court on the same charges.
Michael O’Keefe, district attorney for the Cape and Islands, said at a press conference last Friday that Christopher Manoloules and Mr. Upton entered the victim’s house at 25 Ripple Cove Road near Hyannis Harbor with the intention of getting money from him.
They originally wanted to cajole money out of Mr. Manoloules, Mr. O’Keefe said. When that didn’t work, Mr. O’Keefe said, they shot him four times in the head and torso.
Their visit to Mr. Manoloules allegedly came sometime in the 24 hours before 5:30 PM, Wednesday, September 30. That is the time when Barnstable police responded to the request for a “well-being check” from Treefon Manoloules of Southborough.
Police entered the house and found Aris Manoloules’s dead body in a den. Entry to the home does not appear to have been forced, Mr. O’Keefe said.
Mr. O’Keefe, who declined to reveal the caliber of the bullets, said police had yet to find the weapon.
The body was transported to Boston early Thursday, October 1. Later that day, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy. The cause of death was determined to be multiple gunshot wounds to the victim’s head and torso.
Barnstable Police traveled to Southborough to discuss the well-being call with Treefon Manoloules. While at his home, police arrested his son, Christopher, a senior at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, in connection with the crime.
Police said they subsequently arrested Mr. Upton at his girlfriend’s house in Newton.
Many details of the crime remain unknown to the public. The district judges sitting on the cases of Christopher Manoloules and Mr. Upton have ordered the police reports sealed at the request of prosecutors until their pre-trial conferences, which are scheduled for November 5 and 6, respectively. First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny said the prosecution requested the sealing of the reports because the release of certain information to the public could affect the ongoing investigation.
The killing of Aris Manoloules is the latest chapter in a family history marked by a legal battle over an inheritance, a bankruptcy filing by Mr. Upton, and an alleged burglary several months ago by Christopher Manoloules.
The murder also reveals a tight web between the alleged perpetrators, the victim and the extended Manoloules family.
Christopher Manoloules is the nephew of the victim, Aris Manoloules, and the son of Treefon Manoloules, who requested the well-being check.
Christopher allegedly participated in the crime with his uncle, Mr. Upton, the brother of Deborah Manoloules, who is Christopher’s mother. Christopher is the middle child of Treefon and Deborah Manoloules.
Joseph Nealon of Westborough, the attorney representing Christopher Manoloules, is pointing the finger at Mr. Upton for the crime.
“We believe that Mr. Upton is responsible for the murder, for the death of Ari,” Mr. Nealon said Wednesday. “When the facts are found and established, it will show our client was not directly responsible.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” he said. “The police are still working on the case.”
Christopher Manoloules was charged in August by the Southborough police for allegedly burglarizing a residence in that town.
He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, October 1 in Westborough District Court on charges stemming from the burglary, but instead was arraigned that day in Barnstable on the murder.
Mr. Nealon called the Southborough case “an unrelated crime.” He said he obtained a continuance on that case while the Barnstable case is pending.
The Manoloules family has retained attorney John A. Nealon of Hopkinton and Mashpee.
On Tuesday, John Nealon said, “When all the facts come out on the case, we believe it will be shown that Christopher Manoloules was not directly involved in the death of his uncle.” Mr. Nealon said it was too early in the case to explain why.
He also declined to comment on Christopher Manoloules’s relationship with his uncle.
On Friday, the court appointed Daniel Solomon of Sandwich and Boston to represent Mr. Upton, who was listed as indigent.
According to court papers on file for Mr. Upton’s case, Mr. Solomon sought and was granted public funding by the court to spend $750 on a private investigator, the going rate for such investigators, to work on the case.
Besides the Hyannis home, Aris Manloules, 47, also had a year-round apartment in Framingham and a condominium in Florida.
Aris and his siblings, Treefon and Irene Manoloules, were the children of Emanuel T. and Fevronia “Nitsa” Manoloules, immigrants from Salonica, Greece.
As Ms. Hastings said, court records reveal that the murder victim and other family members previously had argued over family assets.
Barnstable town records show that in 2001 Aris acquired the summer home on Ripple Cove Road from his mother for $1. At present, the house is assessed for $612,000.
In May 2007, Fevronia Manoloules died. Her will bequeathed her assets, including a 1,272-square-foot condomium in Deerfield Beach, Florida, to Aris. No assets were bequeathed to Treefon or Irene.
In November 2007, Treefon and Irene filed a civil suit against Aris in Middlesex Superior Court concerning the disposition of assets. The case later was settled out of court by November 2008.
But bad blood over the will was not the only issue between the siblings.
In 1996, a civil case was filed in Middlesex Superior Court, in which Aris sued Treefon over a partnership dispute.
Besides his inheritance, Aris Manoloules had money from at least one other source.
In 2000, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Aris was one of several owners of the six-acre Tudor Motel site on Route 9 in Shrewsbury that was sold for more than $3 million to Patrick Motors for a Subaru auto dealership.
Mr. Upton was having financial difficulties. In March 2008, according to federal bankruptcy records, he filed for liquidation under Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
He was described in court papers as unemployed. Yesterday Peter Caliendo, general manager of the Long Automotive Group in Framingham, where Mr. Upton used to work, declined to discuss Mr. Upton’s employment there. “The whole thing is just a shame,” Mr. Caliendo said.
Daniel Solomon, the court-appointed attorney representing Mr. Upton, said his instincts tell him that other people not yet charged may be involved in the murder of Aris Manoloules.
“I’ve only received minimal information from the district attorney,” Mr. Solomon said, adding that that is not unusual at this stage of the case. “From what I know, the whole story has not been told yet.”
As for Mr. Nealon’s assertion that Robert Upton was the key perpetrator, Mr. Solomon asks, “What do you think he’s going to say?”
Mr. Solomon said Mr. Upton was a “very, very successful” Hummer salesman until he was laid off a number of months ago, apparently due to the slowing economy.
“He’s devastated,” Mr. Solomon said of Mr. Upton’s reaction to his arrest in the case. “He’s a middle-class guy with a wife and family. He has no criminal record except for something minor 30 years ago.”
Speaking of the case in general, Mr. Solomon said, “Don’t prejudge it. This is still America.”
A private funeral and burial for Aris Manoloules was conducted on an undisclosed day, according to the website of the Faggis Funeral Home of Watertown, which handled the arrangements for the Manoloules family.
Among the condolences posted on the website was one from a relative that gave some insight into the personality of Aris Manoloules. It read in part, “...You have left us, with such wonderful and very funny memories! My trips to the Cape will not be the same without you coming over, always bringing a few DVDs from your large collection, having a great cookout, listening to your wisecrack jokes, telling us how much you liked the Three Stooges, watching the fireworks from your summer home.”
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