Worcester County

Family of murdered Worcester woman waiting four years for trial

WORCESTER, Mass. — This week, opening statements were scheduled to begin in the murder trial of Joseph Dalrymple, the man charged with killing 38-year-old Marlene Bleau in 2018.

But late last week, after Marlene’s family made travel arrangements to attend, the Dalrymple trial was delayed again to September.

“It just sickens me, that we have to wait this long,” Deborah Christensen, Marlene’s mother told me.

On July 27, 2018, Marlene’s lifeless body was found face down in Lake Quinsigamond. The State Medical Examiner, citing injuries to Marlene’s neck, ruled her death a homicide.

Within days, Dalrymple was arrested and a trial date was set for October 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the Dalrymple trial back to March 2022. And now another legal delay has set jury selection back to September 22nd, more than four years after Marlene Bleau was murdered.

Marlene’s niece, Rachel Bleau, told me in a Zoom interview she is concerned other factors could be contributing to the trial’s delay.

“There just has been no justice. And it’s heartbreaking, truly,” Bleau said. “My aunt is not the perfect murder victim. She comes from a lower socio-economic status. I’m worried that is something else going on in this picture.”

Worcester County DA Joe Early’s office cannot comment on open cases that are headed to trial. But last week, DA Early told me that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive backlog for his prosecutors.

DA Early estimated it could take up to a year for the COVID-19 backlog to clear out.

In the meantime, for Marlene’s family, every delay means more suffering.

“I hope the justice system will do its job in a timely manner with respect to the victim and her family. Not only for my family, but all families that are seeking justice,” Rachel Bleau said.

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