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a murder in wellesley 217 20 Typically running late, Belinda Markel had the added stress of not knowing what to expect once she and her mother finally arrived in Dedham on Thursday, May 24, 2001. They had never been to the affluent suburban home of Norfolk County’s Superior Court. Upon arriving, they nervously glanced at the tangle of television equipment on the courthouse lawn, festively covered with a sprawling white tent. Skipping up the doubletiered rows of wide granite steps, the unsuspecting women were not even sure the TV setup was there for Dirk’s case, since they had not been there to see the frenzied coverage accompanying his previous appearances in the Dedham court. Belinda had more trepidation about what waited inside. Although she had still periodically spoken with her cousins as well as defense attorney Marty Murphy, she thought she had made it known that she and her mother “would not be with” Dr. Greineder’s defense. “I thought I had been clear all along, especially with Kirsten, about what my views were concerning Dirk’s guilt,” she said. “It was very, very difficult to walk into that courthouse that morning having absolutely no idea what to expect.” The tented outdoor television studio would prove to be one of the first hints that Belinda and Ilse were clueless about what they were in for. Assembled for Court TV (now truTV), the open-air studio had been put together overnight, looking from a distance like a tented party was planned on the courthouse lawn. The scandalous details of the case were to be broadcast around the globe starting that Thursday. Rising to prominence during the 1991 West Palm Beach rape case of William Kennedy Smith, Court TV had lured millions of new viewers four years later with its gavel-to-gavel coverage of the nine-month O. J. Simpson trial. While the Greineder coverage would not reach the astronomical viewership of the Simpson case, ratings from the case of Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Dirk K. Greineder would make the network executives smile. With the main courtroom on the second floor in use for another murder trial, Judge Chernoff would oversee opening arguments in the smaller 218 tom farmer and marty foley Courtroom Ten near the back of the courthouse where the shackled Dr. Greineder was brought in every morning. Now nineteen months after May’s frightful murder, the electricity in the overflowing courtroom was unmistakable as pent-up anticipation felt by longtime case observers peaked with the realization that the high-stakes trial was finally going to commence. Confidently striding into the charged courtroom where the only empty seat stood reserved for him, Dr. Greineder looked like a man determined to prove his innocence. Noticeably thinner since his dramatic arraignment fourteen months before, he would grow increasingly more gaunt as the trial progressed. In what would become a habit, particularly during difficult testimony, Dr. Greineder turned to smile at his three children sitting in the front row diagonally behind him. His expression toward Belinda Markel and Ilse Stark was decidedly different when they were brought timidly into the crammed courtroom, the overflow of spectators unnerving them. “It appeared that he was trying to be intimidating as opposed to angry,” remembered Belinda. “I almost felt he was trying to manipulate us at that point, or at least me, like if he made me feel uncomfortable enough, he would make me change my tactics even up until that moment.” As the two women followed victim advocate Pam Friedman to their designated front-row seats on the prosecution side of the room, the Greineder children made it instantly clear with their hostile stares that Belinda’s pretrial conversations with Kirsten had failed to enlighten her cousins that the New York relatives stood against their father. “It was at that specific moment that it was absolutely clear to everybody when Pam sat us down,” Belinda recalled softly. “The glares were just unbelievable. It was very, very uncomfortable. There was a tremendous amount of stress and anger from the other side of the room.” Her only knowledge of criminal court proceedings from old “Perry Mason” reruns, Belinda, like her mother Ilse, had had no idea how the system worked. Trying to look around without being noticed, Belinda slowly realized that the obvious separation from where her cousins were seated had created a charged dynamic in the cramped courtroom. “It took me a while to realize the impact of that, having never done this...


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Subject Headings

  • Greineder, Mabel, d. 1999.
  • Greineder, Dirk.
  • Murder -- Massachusetts -- Wellesley -- Case studies.
  • Murder -- Investigation -- Massachusetts -- Wellesley -- Case studies.
  • Trials (Murder) -- Massachusetts -- Norfolk County.
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