FILE: Donald Greenslit. Pool Photo by Andrew Dickerman / The Providence Journal
By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
Police and firefighters testified Monday at Donald Greenslit's murder trial that the 53-year old man charged with killing the mother of his two children resisted their attempts to enter his burning house to put out the fire.
Firefighters who extinguished the blaze in a basement fireplace at his one-family home at 16 Pershing Road in Johnston in January, 2012 described a gruesome scene where they wound up standing in a pool of water mixed with blood.
"He said he didn't need help and he wanted to stay in his house," said Johnston Fire Department Battalion Chief Ronald Castelli, as he encountered Greenslit at the kitchen door as smoke poured from the doors, windows and eaves.
"I had to actually put him up against the refrigerator and say, 'listen, we are helping you and this is what's going to happen'," Castelli testified in the second day of Greenslit's trial at Superior Court in Providence.
A fellow firefighter went past Greenslit, up the stairs and rescued the two young children that Greenslit had with his common-law wife, Stacie Dorego. Meanwhile, other firefighters went to the cluttered basement, where they doused a fire burning in a brick fireplace.
As one firefighter poked at an unknown object in the fireplace with his axe, Fire Department Lieutenant Paul Brazenor described the item.
"A mammal, possibly, because we saw what looked to be muscular... muscularture, muscular skeletal... we saw some bone, that looked to be bone, and what also looked to be various parts of entrails that had just flopped open," he said.
"I knew we were standing in possibly blood, this was some sort of mammal that was obviously burned. So, at this point, I ordered everybody to stand back, don't touch anything else, and I also ordered Private Pistaccio to go upstairs and notify the police department to come down and witness what we had found."
Prosecutors say the objects found in the fireplace were partial remains of Stacie Dorego, although Greenslit's defense claims there is no hard evidence linking him to her death.
Testimony is to resume on Tuesday.