Athol man arraigned on murder and other charges in November death

Date: 
01.15.2020

Keith Hamel, 23, of Athol was arraigned in Franklin Superior Court today on murder and other charges in connection with the Nov. 11 death of Kelsey Clifford, 26, of Leominster.

In addition to the murder charge, Hamel faces one count of armed robbery, 2 counts of misleading police and 4 counts of tampering with evidence. If convicted, he would serve a minimum of life without parole on the murder charge.

Judge Mark Mason ordered that Hamel continue to be held without bail. His next court date is April 10, 2020 at 2 p.m. in Franklin Superior Court.

Chief Trial Counsel Jeremy Bucci and Assistant District Attorney Joseph Webber are prosecuting this case for the Commonwealth.  In a motion to hold the defendant without bail, Bucci alleged that Hamel murdered and robbed Clifford of her money and cell phone on Jones Street in Athol on Nov. 11. Later that day, police recovered a sweatshirt with Clifford’s blood on the outside and Hamel’s DNA inside the sleeve, according to Bucci. DNA matching Hamel was also found on the victim’s genitals.  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, Bucci said.