Did the young woman die for nothing?
Amanda Plasse was a beautiful young woman from Massachusetts, USA. She was a free-spirited, caring person who loved helping others. People adored her for her cheerful and entertaining attitude and often dubbed her as the light of the party.
Since Amanda enjoyed meeting and helping people, she worked in the hospitality business. She worked as a hostess and waitress in several restaurants before joining Friendly’s on Memorial Drive, Chicopee.
Her regular customers cherished the woman. She was so social, energetic, and cordial that people would request her to be their waitress. There wasn’t a person who hated her.
Yet, things didn’t go so well for the 20-year-old woman.
August 26th, 2011
In August 2011, Amanda was dating 27-year-old Seth Green. Even though the two had met only a few days before, their connection was instant. The couple smoked weed, danced, and enjoyed their time together.
The night of August 25th, 2011, was no different.
Seth had spent the night with Amanda and went to work the next day. He called Amanda and told her he’d be late. He also apologized for not driving her to work that night.
Amanda replied it was okay, and she’d find another way. She then asked her best friend, Marcedes to drop her at work.
That evening, Marcedes drove to Amanda’s apartment and waited outside her house for a few minutes. She called and texted Amanda but didn’t get an answer. Assuming that she had gotten a lift, Marcedes drove away.
Little did she know her friend was in grave danger.
The Horrific Scene
Later that evening, Seth went to surprise Amanda at Friendly’s. However, she wasn’t there. He assumed she was done for the day and went back to the apartment.
When Seth reached Amanda’s building, he noticed her porch window broken. Afraid something happened, he ran to the apartment, only to find them justified.
Initially, Seth saw some red marks on the kitchen counter. He thought little about it; he assumed it was Amanda’s painting accident. But then Seth saw Amanda on the floor covered with blood. Horrified, he knew he was wrong.
Seth tried to do CPR on Amanda, but it was too late. Tired and terrified, Seth called 911.
The police arrived shortly after and found Seth shaking and crying. They understood his reaction when they saw the horrific scene.
Amanda was covered in blood completely. She was stabbed at least six times in her chest, throat, and abdomen. Clearly, there was violence and struggle.
The forensic team took DNA samples from Amanda’s body, a palm print from the broken window, and bloody footprints from a pair of Nike Air Max shoes. While gathering evidence and information, Seth informed the police about a missing knife and marijuana packets.
While the police questioned Amanda’s acquaintances and followed leads to get more information, nothing made sense. Seth took the polygraph test and proved that he was innocent. Several others had solid alibis. The case was turning cold quickly.
It took the police a long time to get to each contact; that frustrated Amanda’s family. But they didn’t give up. The family sponsored local events to bring awareness to the case. The promotion also kept the investigation alive and moving.
Puerto Rican Man
One of Amanda’s ex-boyfriends offered a crucial piece of information.
He claimed that Amanda’s apartment was broken into several times. He also told the police Amanda suspected a young Puerto Rican man whose name started with a ‘D.’
Amanda wanted to solve the situation amicably. She knew this man, so she preferred talking to him first. During their meeting, Amanda tried to bring up the break-ins. When he dismissed them, she told him about a neighbor who saw him breaking into her apartment. She also respectfully requested him to return her belongings, but the man got offended and left.
Now, the police had no information on who the Puerto Rican was. But in 2013, two years after Amanda’s death, a district attorney found a clue.
While going through the crime photos, the attorney noticed a whiteboard with a note that read,
Dennis was here — 08/11/11.
The police now knew the Puerto Rican’s name was Dennis. However, no one knew about him. So, the police used Amanda’s phone records and neighborhood information to track the person.
Dennis Rosa Roman
Initially, the police found two men who fit Dennis’ description. Both of them had prior records. However, one was white, and the police didn’t find evidence of him contacting Amanda.
The second man the police found was Dennis Rosa Roman. He was a Hispanic man who lived about four blocks from Amanda’s apartment with his Spanish girlfriend and a kid.
Even though Amanda’s ex didn’t recognize Dennis Rosa, the police were convinced that he was their guy. The police also verified Amanda’s phone records for more proof.
Amanda and Dennis had spoken to each other nine times, all on July 28th, 2011. Amanda had called Dennis four times, and Dennis had called Amanda five times.
The police tracked down Dennis in Westfield, Massachusetts. When they requested Dennis to come to the station for a casual conversation, he declined. He was extremely nervous and agitated.
The police questioned Dennis about his relationship with Amanda. While Dennis agreed he knew Amanda from Chicopee, he said he hadn’t seen her in a couple of years.
That’s because Amanda was dead for the last couple of years.
A few days later, on November 1st, 2013, the police station received a phone call from Dennis. He urgently claimed that he wanted to talk to an officer about Amanda. He said that a piece of information was nagging him for over two years.
Once the police caught up to Dennis, he gave them a DNA sampling. Interestingly, the police also noted that Dennis was wearing a pair of Nike Air Max shoes.
While most of Dennis’ conversation was redacted, the police released the main parts of the narrative to the public. Dennis confessed to being a witness to Amanda’s murder. He admitted he sold drugs to Amanda, and it was the supplier who killed her. But he was scared to reveal his identity. Dennis believed that the man would hurt him and his family if the truth came out.
However, after this confession, Dennis changed his story multiple times, and each fabrication differed from the previous one. His accounts were so inconsistent that the police didn’t know what to believe.
The DNA analysis also confirmed Dennis’ involvement in Amanda’s murder. Even though Dennis dismissed the evidence by claiming it to be false, the police were convinced of his involvement.
Trial and Verdict
On November 5th, 2013, the police arrested Dennis. However, his trial only started three years later, on July 7th, 2016. They charged Dennis for the first-degree murder of Amanda Plasse.
Dennis pleaded not guilty, and the case moved to trial.
The prosecution accused Dennis of killing Amanda as part of a robbery attempt. Since Dennis had a prior record of domestic abuse, drug violence, and burglary, they called him guilty. The prosecution also put forth several pieces of evidence, such as DNA samples, palm prints, and the Nike Air Max shoe prints.
The defense team argued Dennis was an unwitting witness to the crime. But he wouldn’t reveal the true culprits due to safety reasons.
Furthermore, they accused the police of a botched-up probe, claiming they framed Dennis after a failed investigation. The team argued it took the police two years to confront Dennis, even when they had all the information.
The trial continued for eight days, and both teams presented and debunked evidence. Finally, the jury found Dennis guilty, and the judge sentenced him to life imprisonment without parole.
During the initial days of the investigation, a crime officer assigned to the case took pictures of Amanda’s body on his phone and circulated them. He believed it would help in maintaining the integrity of the crime scene.
The circulated photos got leaked to the public. Some police officers shared it with their friends and family, and even strangers at a football game. They were so widely spread that it was nothing about preserving the crime scene anymore.
Now, while it’s not illegal to take pictures of dead bodies, it is inappropriate to leak details about an ongoing investigation. Plus, it’s disrespectful and unjust to the deceased. But no one cared enough to report their actions.
Two months later, a district attorney caught wind of the photos. He expressed his concerns, and a formal investigation began. After about four months, they found the involved police officers. But they were only given warnings or light punishments, like working extra shifts or sending apology letters.
Later, another officer showed interest in this case, and he fired one of the accused police officers, Jeffrey Godere. However, Jeffrey appealed the decision, won the case, and got his job back.
The worrying part of this incident was that people were more interested in the pictures and the police officers than in obtaining justice for Amanda. Some even believe that this distraction caused the delay in the investigation. All this hurt and frustrated Amanda’s family a lot.
It’s sad to note that a fine young woman full of life lost her life for nothing.
The idea of killing a person for a few packets of weed is wrong in so many ways. She was so respectful and kind, even when she asked him to return her belongings. Amanda didn’t deserve this end, and I hope justice was served.
This is also one of those cases where the police had all the information they needed yet took too long to find the culprit. Nevertheless, they got some closure, and Amanda’s family could finally move on.
While we don’t know if Dennis was telling the truth, his involvement in the crime was apparent. Dennis appealed for a retrial citing defense challenges and an unfair trial. However, the judge found no foul play and denied his request.
Plus, the family’s continued efforts to get justice for Amanda are commendable. Even when the police got sidetracked, they kept fighting. The family is now helping other victims by advocating for laws that make taking photographs at a crime scene illegal. The petition got about 1500 signatures and is waiting for the legislation to come up for a vote.
“We just want to move on and we can’t move on. It’s been 10 years. We will never forget her, but we don’t want to relive what happened.” — Amanda’s family.