A Dorchester teen is being held without bail after allegedly gunning down a woman while she was marching in a parade this past weekend.
Keith Williams, 18, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon at his arraignment in Dorchester Municipal Court Monday in connection with the Saturday morning murder of Dawn Jaffier, 26. He, along with two others, was detained shortly after the incident and initially held on gun charges.
According to prosecutors, the teen used a .357-caliber revolver to strike Jaffier and then threw it in a nearby yard. A second woman was hit with a bullet, but survived.
“Some might say she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. “But she was not – she had every right to stand on a busy street on a beautiful Saturday morning. She had every right, just as all our children have every right, to watch a parade without putting her life at risk.”
Conley went on to call her death an “outrage” and urged witnesses of her death to come forward.
Jaffier, a longtime Boston resident, was a teacher and mentor at the Boys and Girls Club in Jamaica Plain. She was walking along a parade route at Dorchester’s annual Caribbean festival when she was shot.
In a statement Monday, Boston Public Schools described her as a loving, generous young woman who made it her mission to improve the lives of others.
“[She] was exactly the sort of person we need more of,” Conley said.
Williams is represented by attorney John M. Galvin. He will return to court on Oct. 14, 2014.
A press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office below.
Aug. 25, 2014
Remarks of District Attorney Daniel F. Conley on the Arraignment of Keith Williams
(BOSTON) — Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley today delivered the following remarks on the arraignment of KEITH WILLIAMS (D.O.B. 7/13/96) on charges of murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and gun charges in connection with the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Dawnn Jaffier on Saturday morning. Williams was ordered held without bail and will return to court on Oct. 14 with attorney John Galvin.
“Today’s arraignment of Keith Williams on murder charges marks a major step in the investigation into Dawnn Jaffier’s homicide, but I want to be clear – it is not the last step. The investigation does not stop here, and we can’t afford for potential witnesses to become complacent now that a suspect has been identified. We’ve gotten some helpful information from the public over the past few days, but we know there are others out there with information that could prove extremely valuable to this case.
“I want to address those witnesses directly. If you have specific information about this homicide, or even more general observations about individuals in the area at the time it occurred, please come forward. Investigators have been working this case around the clock to gather ballistics, commercial video surveillance, and other evidence, but they still need witnesses who can say what they heard, what they saw, and what they know.
“Once again, the City of Boston has lost a young, vibrant, and promising member of the community. Dawn Jaffier was exactly the sort of person we need more of. She had dedicated herself to making the city and the world a better place. She was a truly innocent victim, and we don’t believe she was the intended target. Some might say she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But she was not – she had every right to stand on a busy street on a beautiful Saturday morning. She had every right, just as all our children have every right, to watch a parade without putting her life at risk. It’s an outrage that someone would choose that time and place to pull a gun and fire it repeatedly.
“Here are some names you might remember: Jermaine Goffigan. Trina Persad. Luis Gerena, Jr. Cederick Steele. Steven Odom. Chiara Levin. Herman Taylor III. Nicholas Fomby-Davis. Too many young men and women, and far too many children, have been claimed by violent feuds made even more deadly by the availability of illegal firearms.
“Just last week, at a murder sentencing in Suffolk Superior Court, the judge heard words written by the victim’s mother. She wrote of the boundless love she had for her son and the devastating heartbreak of losing him to violence. And this woman who had every reason to lash out and condemn the man who took her boy’s life instead made a different choice. Instead, she forgave him.
“So I put this to the young men out there carrying guns they’re all too ready to use. If a mother can forgive the man who murdered the light of her life, you can find it in yourselves to end the feuds that lead to shootings like this one. And as a society, we can find it in ourselves to pick up the work that Dawn Jaffier left for us – to build bridges, to connect people, and to nurture the children who need us so that not one more family has to endure the tragedy that hers is living through today.
“Again, our investigation remains very active, with police and prosecutors working hand in hand to bring the Jaffier family some measure of justice in the face of their loss. Every witness helps. Every piece of information helps. Thank you.”