ATHOL (CBS) – Keith Hamel was arraigned Tuesday after he was charged with murdering 26-year-old Kelsey Clifford in Athol.
A not guilty plea was entered on Hamel’s behalf. He was ordered held without bail until a February 14 probable cause hearing.
“There is nothing in this world that my cousin could have done to deserve this,” said Shiane Cordio, Clifford’s cousin.
Clifford’s body was found on November 11 outside the entrance to the Athol Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Clifford’s family says she knew the suspect through her boyfriend, whose house she had been staying at. That house was raided by police after her body was found only yards away.
“He’s an animal. Period. You don’t do this. You don’t beat someone to death,” said Marshall Cordio, Clifford’s uncle.
Investigators say a sweatshirt with DNA from Hamel and Clifford is a key piece of evidence.
“I don’t know why she went and met up with him,” Shiane Cordio said. “I don’t know why she had anything to do with those type of people and unfortunately it ended up with her costing her life.”
Hamel, who has a long criminal history, is now facing charges that include violating an abuse prevention order, larceny, destruction of property, and murder. His defense attorney told reporters the police report is sparse and one sided.
Hamel’s friend says police have the wrong guy. “Murder is wrong 100 percent of the way. Definitely go find the dude who did that but that’s not Keith, he’s not capable of that kind of thing,” said Marcus Luchock, Hamel’s friend.
Kelsey Clifford’s family is convinced police have it right and want justice.
“I do not believe that any time that they give Keith is going to be justice enough,” Shiane Cordio said. “I want to look into his eyes and see if he has a soul. Because how can you do that to somebody?”