MA v. Blake Scanlon: Ex-Girlfriend Stabbed Murder Trial

Posted at 8:13 AM, April 1, 2024 and last updated 10:46 AM, April 2, 2024

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Court TV) — A Massachusetts man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

blake scanlon appears in court

Blake Scanlon stands as he is sentenced to life prison without parole Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Court TV)

Last week, Blake Scanlon was found guilty of first-degree murder and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon in the death of Alexis Avery. On Tuesday, a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole for the murder conviction and up to 120 months for the assault and battery conviction.

Avery was 20 when she was brutally stabbed to death inside her home in Westfield on Jan. 13, 2019. Police were first called to the apartment after a male 911 caller, later identified as Scanlon, reported he was seriously injured. Officers who arrived on the scene found Avery dead, having been stabbed to death. Scanlon, who was at the scene when the police arrived, was found with “what appeared to be self-inflicted lacerations,” the Hampden District Attorney said at the time.

Scanlon said, “I killed my girlfriend,” while he was on the phone with 911, according to court documents obtained by Court TV. Investigators said it wasn’t clear when Avery was killed, but speculated it may have been hours before Scanlon called 911.

Scanlon and Avery had lived together and shared a young child. Court documents say there had previously been a restraining order against Scanlon.

In 2021, Scanlon was indicted by a Hampshire County grand jury on charges of solicitation to commit murder and solicitation to commit witness intimidation, after trying to arrange to have a witness and prosecutor killed. A jailhouse informant alerted prosecutors to the plan after he said that Scanlon tried to recruit him. A Hampshire County official told Court TV those charges were dismissed ahead of his murder trial.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated Avery was the defendant’s girlfriend at the time of her death. 


DAY 4 – 4/2/24

DAY 3 – 3/27/24

DAY 2- 3/26/24

  • Both sides rested.
  • Scott Burns, a coworker of victim Alexis Avery, said the two were having sex in his truck when Blake Scanlon interrupted them and left with Avery.
    • On cross, Burns said Avery had two Facebook profiles. One said that she was single, and the other said that she was in a relationship with Scanlon.
  • Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael McNally identified a text from Scanlon to Avery on Jan. 10, 2019, that suggested he knew the relationship was over. It said something to the effect of, even though we’re breaking up, can’t we still love each other and care for our daughter?
  • Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Welton said Avery died from complications of 28 multiple sharp force injuries to the neck and torso. Several major organs were impacted, including the aorta, which meant she likely died within minutes.
  • The defense recalled a prosecution witness, Westfield Police Det. Richard Mazza, to introduce security camera footage that showed a car resembling the one Scanlon was driving that night (Avery’s car) approaching their house within minutes of Scanlon and Avery leaving the bar.
    • The defense has argued that the videos — coupled with messages Avery exchanged with her cousin and Burns — suggest that in the short period of time between the bar and Avery’s death, something happened to provoke Scanlon that could give rise to the mitigating factor of “heat of passion caused by reasonable provocation.”
  • The attorneys argued over whether the facts supported a lesser charge of manslaughter. The defense said case law recognized Scanlon’s witnessing Avery and Burns having sex as “reasonable provocation” considering the “ambiguity” in their relationship (they were still living together, her Facebook profile status indicated they were in a relationship.)
    • The Commonwealth argued there was no ambiguity based on the following:
      • Avery told him she wanted to break up with him on Jan. 1, 2017, Katlyn Avery testified.
      • Scanlon’s “even though we’re breaking up” text.
      • Scanlon moping and lamenting he was losing his family on the night he killed Avery, according to Katlyn Avery’s testimony.

DAY 1 – 3/25/24

  • Defense lawyer Marissa Elkins said the key issue for the jury “won’t be if you find him guilty, it will be what you find him guilty of,” suggesting the defense might argue Scanlon is guilty of a lesser crime and/or suffered from a diminished capacity.
  • “If he couldn’t have her, no one would have her.” Prosecutor Matthew Green said in his opening that Scanlon committed first-degree intentional murder when he stabbed Avery 28 times, slashing her face and piercing her major organs, after catching her having sex in the back of another man’s truck.
    • Scanlon left the body in their kitchen for more than a day before calling 911, and only called after Avery’s mother texted Avery’s phone saying she was going to call police if she didn’t hear her daughter’s voice, the prosecutor said. When Scanlon called 911, he first reported that he slashed his wrists, then said he stabbed his girlfriend.
    • After killing her, Green said Scanlon responded to texts to Avery’s phone from Avery’s mother and asked her to keep watching their baby because “Blake and I aren’t feeling great.”
    • WATCH: Ex-Girlfriend Stabbed Murder Trial: Prosecution Opening Statement
  • Alexis Avery’s cousin, Katlyn Avery, teared up at various points recounting what became her final evening with her “baby cousin” on January 11, 2019, before Scanlon killed her.
    • Katlyn Avery said Scanlon was distraught on the night in question over Alexis Avery’s decision to end the relationship 11 days. Scanlon followed the cousins from one bar to another and got upset when he saw Alexis Avery kissing her coworker at a bar. He threatened to “fuck them up,” the witness said.
  • State Trooper Jason Christofori identified pictures of the crime scene, including photos of a suitcase and U-Haul boxes suggesting someone was intending to move out in the couple’s breakup.
  • Upon responding to Scanlon’s call on Sunday morning, retired Westfield Police Officer Ben Bradley said Scanlon admitted to stabbing her girlfriend on Friday night. On cross, Bradley said Scanlon was not violent or argumentative.
  • Westfield Firefighter and Paramedic Ben Hogan said Scanlon apologized “profusely” as he treated Scanlon’s self-inflicted wounds on his wrists.
  • The victim’s mother, Jessica Bray, teared up identifying a photo of her daughter. She said she last saw Avery the night she and her cousin went out, when two young women came over to borrow Bray’s car. She called and texted her daughter several times Saturday to find out where she was.