State supreme court upholds murder conviction

Just one day shy of the fifth anniversary of Derrick Barnes’ death, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld his killer’s conviction. The ruling came down Friday.

Derrick Barnes was 25 years old when he was shot and killed as he sat on a family member’s porch on Fayston Street in Dorchester on August 27, 2011. A jury convicted both Frankie Herndon and Frederick Henderson of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm for Barnes’ death. According to the Suffolk County DA’s office:

Evidence and testimony at trial established that Barnes, who once lived in Boston but had since moved out of town, was visiting family after Boston’s Caribbean Carnival. He was sitting on the porch of a family member’s home with several other people just after 7:00 p.m. when Herndon and Henderson approached from the sidewalk. Their conversation soon became a verbal altercation that ended when Henderson and Herndon pulled guns and opened fire. Barnes’ friends scattered; he was struck.

Henderson ran from the scene while Herndon calmly walked up to Barnes’ fallen body and fired again as the young man lay dying on the porch.  Barnes was pronounced dead of his injuries at Boston Medical Center.

Both Herndon and Henderson, now 32 years old, appealed their convictions. The Suffolk County DA’s office released the following details about Herndon’s appeal:

Herndon was identified by eyewitnesses who knew the defendants and whose accounts were corroborated by imagery from surveillance cameras near the scene. Among other arguments, Herndon claimed on appeal that the trial judge erred by using the state’s model jury instruction on eyewitness evidence rather than a version his attorney recommended. The high court rejected that argument and found that, although it had since updated that instruction, “The judge here did not abuse his discretion or otherwise err in declining to give the defendant’s requested eyewitness identification instruction and giving instead a version of the model … instruction.”

Henderson’s appeal remains pending.

Shooting kills 1, seriously injures bystander

Police have arrested a suspect in connection with a shooting that happened around midnight in Dorchester last Saturday that killed one man and left a woman seriously injured.

The shooting happened outside 6 Dudley Terrace on Aug. 20. When officers arrived at the scene, they found a man and woman suffering from gunshot wounds. Ailton Goncalves, 35, of Dorchester, was pronounced dead at the scene. The female victim, who the Boston Globe identified as 31-year-old Merly Miranda, was rushed to the hospital. Officials say she was shot twice in the back, and is paralyzed.

On Saturday morning, Aug. 27, police arrested Aaron Almeida, 22, of Hyde Park in Dorchester and charged him with murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.

At arraignment Monday, prosecutors additionally charged Almeida with armed assault with intent to murder and aggravated assault and battery for the injuries Miranda suffered. A judge ordered him held without bail.

At the time of the shooting, Goncalves was talking with a group of friends at the end of the street. Miranda, who has no connection to either Goncalves or Almeida, was reportedly coming out of of a nearby home to get cigarettes from her car, the Globe reports.

At the same time, according to the Suffolk County DA’s office, “Almeida can be seen on footage from nearby surveillance cameras making his way from Dudley Street onto Monadnock Street and then onto nearby Dudley Terrace.  About half or two-thirds of the way down Dudley Terrace, Galatis said, Almeida opened fire, hitting Goncalves and the female victim multiple times before running from the scene.”

The shooting itself was not captured on video, according to the Globe, and court records reportedly described the shooting as connected to gang activity.

Detectives arrested Almeida based on the surveillance video and “other evidence,” and found clothing “identical to that worn by the assailant and two firearms” when executing search warrants.

Almeida will next appear in court on Oct. 5.

Two killed overnight in separate shootings

Two people were killed and others wounded as the result of a spate of shootings overnight Friday into Saturday. Officials believe some of the shootings were connected to parties ahead of Boston’s Caribbean Festival.

The first fatal shooting happened Saturday around 1:40 a.m. in Dorchester. Officers responded to a call of a shooting at 58 Westville St. The male victim,  who police have not formally identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The second shooting happened in Jamaica Plain at 454 Centre St. near South Huntington Avenue outside a 7-Eleven convenience store around 3:30 a.m. Police found the victim, a man in his 30s, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He died at the hospital.

The Centre Street shooting victim appeared to be targeted, according to The Boston Globe, and was not part of any of the parties where the other shootings occurred. According to residents in the area, the victim was a well-known panhandler in the area. One resident saw him Friday night and said he was smiling as usual, and that nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Witnesses to the Westville Street shooting reported hearing multiple gunshots. One woman came upon the scene shortly after the man was shot. She told the Globe:

She saw a woman who appeared to be in her 20s crying over the young man as he lay on his back, and several other people who stood watching.

Police performed CPR on the man, but stopped before the ambulance arrived, appearing to give up, she said.

“I looked death in the face,” the woman said. “That was kind of sad.”

Police have not made an arrest in either shooting. Anyone who has information is asked to call Boston Police homicide detectives at 617-343-4470. People who want to leave a tip anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS, or texting ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).

Police identify suspects in March murder, ask for public’s help

Boston Police have identified three suspects they believe are connected to the March murder of Allex Bryant in Roxbury, and are asking for the public’s help in finding two of the three suspects.

Allex Bryant

Allex Bryant

Bryant was shot around 3 a.m. on March 21 outside 66 Humboldt Ave. in Roxbury. Officers found him dead in the passenger side of a car.

On Thursday, Aug. 25, members of a US Marshal Task Force arrested one suspect related to the case, Dartanyan Pledger, 24, in Atlanta. Pledger is from Dorchester. Officials will bring Pledger back to Boston and charge him with murder.

Pledger was arrested in July of 2015 and charged with armed robbery after he and another man allegedly robbed a person at gunpoint in Dedham, according to Wicked Local Dedham.

Police are still looking for two other suspects connected to Bryant’s murder, and are asking for the public’s help in finding them. Niccokowan Pledger-Grant, 26, of Quincy, is wanted for murder, and Lisa Lewis, 24, also of Quincy, is wanted as an accessory after the fact.

Niccokowan Pledger-Grant

Niccokowan Pledger-Grant

Lisa Lewis

Lisa Lewis

Anyone with information about Pledger-Grant or Lewis’s whereabouts, or other information about Bryant’s murder, is asked to call Boston Police homicide detectives at 617-373-4470. People who wish to leave tips anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS, or by texting ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).

DA: No charges in fatal police shooting of Usaamah Rahim

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office will not seek charges against the Boston Police officer and FBI agent who fatally shot a Boston man in Roslindale in June of 2015.

Usaamah Rahim

Usaamah Rahim

Law enforcement officials confronted Usaamah Rahim at a bus stop near the CVS on Washington Street. He had been under surveillance after investigators learned he was reportedly plotting, with two other people, to behead someone in New York City. Rahim reportedly had ties to members of ISIS. On the morning of June 2, 2015, when officials approached Rahim, he reportedly brandished a large, military-style knife and walked towards the agents with it. The knife was visible on the ground at the crime scene.

In a statement, Rahim’s family expressed appreciation for the investigation but said they wished the investigation had a wider scope.

From the beginning, we have raised a set of broader concerns that appear to be beyond the scope of the DA’s investigation. Specifically, we have asserted that Usaamah was the subject of an illegal arrest,” the statement read, according to Wicked Local Brookline.

Click below to continue reading for Suffolk County DA Dan Conley’s full remarks.

Read more

Arrest made in East Boston fatal stabbing

The suspect in a stabbing that killed an East Boston man was ordered held without bail at his arraignment on Monday.

Darius Barry, 18, of Dorchester, was arrested and charged with murder for the early morning stabbing on Aug. 17 that killed 23-year-old Gage Smith of East Boston.

Gage Smith

Gage Smith

Shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday, investigators say Barry was inside a car with other people that pulled up outside 217 Paris St. in East Boston, and Barry and the others in the car got in a verbal fight with Smith. Some people in the vehicle got out and got into a street fight with Smith. Barry allegedly stabbed Smith multiple times, then fled the scene.

Emergency responders took Gage to Mass. General Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Gage was married and had a daughter, according to his obituary.

Police arrested Barry on Friday night and he was arraigned Monday. His next court appearance is Sept. 26.

Brockton mn identified as Dorchester shooting victim

The victim of Friday night’s shooting in Dorchester has been identified as Carlos Fortes Neves-Silva, 34, of Brockton.

Shortly before 11:40 p.m. on August 12, Neves-Silva was shot multiple times. Police responded to 21 Algonquin St. in Dorchester, where they pronounced him dead at the scene. Carlos Neves-Silva

According to The Brockton Enterprise, Neves-Silva was shot outside on the street while he was with a friend, but further details about the circumstances of the shooting remain unclear.

Neves-Silva’s wife Esmenia spoke to The Enterprise about her husband, who she said was known to friends and family as “Kay.”

“Everybody knew Kay,” his wife told The Enterprise. “He was very, very friendly — he loved being happy. He was a loving person, loving husband, loving father and loving friend. This is unbelievable.”

Neves-Silva was born in Cape Verde and had three children, 12-year-old Stella, 9-year-old Bruno, and 2-month-old Makayla.

Police have not arrested anyone in connection with the shooting, and ask anyone with information to call Boston Police homicide detectives at 617-343-4470. Anonymous tips can be left by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS, or texting ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).

Appeals court denies man convicted in 2009 murder

The Massachusetts Appeals Court declined to order a new trial for Trevor “Specialist” Higgins, who was convicted of second-degree murder for the 2009 shooting death of 32-year-old Carl Bonnie.

A jury convicted Higgins, now 42, of murder in 2013. Another man, Gregory “Buddha” Knight pleaded guilty to manslaughter before the trial began and is serving a nine-year prison sentence for his role in Bonnie’s murder.

Before his murder on Nov. 12, 2009, Bonnie had been texting with Knight and met up with him at an apartment on Clifford Street in Roxbury for a drug deal. Higgins was also at the apartment in the moments leading up to the shooting, and was armed with a shotgun, prosecutors proved at trial. Bonnie was shot and killed shortly after arriving at the apartment; after the murder, both Knight and Higgins fled to Maine.

According to the Suffolk County DA’s office:

Among other claims, Higgins argued on appeal that Knight’s sister and step-mother should not have been permitted to identify Higgins during their testimony at Higgins’ trial.  The Appeals Court, however, ruled that the identifications were made in accordance with the procedures in place at the time of the trial.

He also argued testimony by the two witnesses recalling conversations with Knight should not have been allowed by the trial judge.  The court found that the judge properly admitted the majority of the statements; the one statement that was erroneously admitted, however, did not present the likelihood of a miscarriage of justice in light of the full evidence presented against Higgins, which the court called “overwhelming.”

The court also found no error in the testimony of two additional civilian witnesses identifying Higgins and Knight in surveillance images, and that Higgins was not prejudiced by statements made in a prosecutor’s closing arguments.

Third suspect arrested in connection with teen’s death

A third suspect has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of Raekwon Brown, the 17-year-old killed last month outside his high school in Dorchester.

Members of the Boston Police’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit and US Marshals arrested 20-year-old Jaden Waiters of Boston on Monday and he was arraigned in Dorchester Municipal Court on Tuesday.

Raekwon Brown

Raekwon Brown

Brown and three others were shot June 8 outside the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester around 1:30 p.m. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other teens were taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries and a woman in her 60s was treated at the scene for her injury.

Waiters is charged with one count of murder and two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, the same charges that the other two suspects in the case are facing. Those suspects, 23-year-old Jonathan Aguasvivas of Roxbury, and 24-year-old Benzy Bain of Mattapan, were arrested and charged last month. Waiters was ordered held without bail at Tuesday’s arraignment.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office:

The investigation that followed, which entailed the retrieval and analysis of video footage from cameras in the area as well as other forms of evidence, led to the arrests of Aguasvivas and Bain on June 22. Both men were arraigned the same day and held without bail. Additional evidence gathered since that time led to Waiters’ identification as the third participant in Brown’s homicide and the nonfatal shootings.

Investigators continue to gather evidence in building their case and ask anyone with information to call Boston Police homicide detectives at 617-343-4470, or call the anonymous CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS. Anonymous tips can also be texted to CRIME (27463).

Victim of morning shooting in Dorchester identified

The person who was fatally shot in Dorchester around 11:30 a.m. on July 7 has been identified.

Two people were shot near 68 Hancock St. A woman in her 50s was shot in the leg and treated at the hospital for her injuries. Brandon Smith, 28, of Dorchester, was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith

According to the Boston Globe:

A witness said Smith had been riding his bicycle, when the shooter approached him and said, “I’ma go to prison because of you.”

“I swear to God I didn’t do it,” the witness recalled Smith saying, before he was shot and fell from his bike.

No one has been arrested yet in connection with the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call Boston Police homicide detectives at 617-343-4470, or call the anonymous CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS. Anonymous texts can also be made by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).