Michael “Fresh” Stallings was convicted of involuntary manslaughter today for causing the death of 40-year-old Kelvin Rowell, who had a fatal asthma attack while fleeing what prosecutors called a ”barrage of gunfire” near Blue Hill Avenue and Pasadena Road in 2012, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said Stallings, 26, is an H Block gang member and fired into a group of men on the night of Jan. 23, 2012, aiming for members of rival gang Castlegate.
Rowell, who wasn’t affiliated with any gang, ran down Pasadena Road and collapsed. He was found unresponsive, holding his inhaler. He died at Boston Medical Center 42 days later.
When Stallings was arrested, he was wearing a GPS bracelet that allowed prosecutors to pin him to the scene of the shooting. In August 2012, he was arrested with the .40 caliber firearm that police matched to casings found at the crime scene.
A grand jury indicted Stallings on a charge of first-degree murder and two counts of armed assault with intent to murder.
Instead of first-degree murder and its mandatory life sentence without parole, the jury convicted Stallings of involuntary manslaughter, as well as unlawful possession of a firearm.
Stallings’ sentencing is scheduled for next week, and the DA’s office said he faces up to 20 years in prison. His defense claimed he was not the first shooter and therefore not responsible for Rowell’s death, and the case was unusual for the legal issues it raised. Stallings’ lawyer said after the conviction that he plans to appeal the jury’s decision.
Further reading on the case:
- A Feb. 2013 Boston Globe article reported on Stallings’ arrest and criminal record, as well as Rowell’s family’s presence at the indictment.
- In Jan. 2013, the Globe covered the dangerousness posed by the H Block gang with which Stallings is associated.
- The Universal Hub wrote a roundup of H Block violence following the 2013 shooting of a 13-year-old on his way to church.
- A May 2015 Globe article detailed the legal issues raised by the case.
- The Globe’s June 1, 2015, story following Stallings’ conviction.
- A YouTube user who said he is Rowell’s son made a video tribute to Rowell. And on Facebook, there’s a closed group dedicated to the memory of Kelvin “Kally” Rowell.
Today’s Suffolk DA’s press release is below:
BOSTON, June 1, 2015—An H-Block gang member was convicted of involuntary manslaughter today for causing the death of 40-year-old Kelvin Rowell, who died of an asthma attack after fleeing the defendant’s barrage of gunfire, Suffolk county District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
MICHAEL “FRESH” STALLINGS (D.O.B. 3/31/89) was also convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm for the 2012 incident in the area of Blue Hill Avenue and Pasadena Road. Stallings, who had been indicted for first-degree murder, was acquitted of two counts of armed assault with intent to murder.
“This jury weighed the evidence, found the facts, and applied the law,” Conley said. “When you open fire on a busy street without warning or provocation, you’re responsible for what happens next.”
During about a week of testimony, Assistant District Attorney Julie Higgins of the DA’s Homicide Unit introduced evidence and testimony proving that Stallings was armed with a .40 caliber handgun when he opened fire at a group of men on the night of Jan. 23, 2012. Rowell was among those in that group.
Though Higgins argued that Stallings was gunning for rivals from the Castlegate gang, Rowell was not affiliated with any gang. Like others, he ran from the gunfire – but soon collapsed as he suffered a severe asthma attack brought on by the stress and exertion of fleeing down Pasadena Road. He was found unresponsive with his inhaler in his hand.
Rowell was rushed to Boston Medical Center, where he remained in a coma for 42 days. He died on March 5, 2012.
At the time of the shooting, Stallings was wearing a GPS device that placed him at the scene of that shooting in violation of a court-ordered curfew. He was arrested in August 2012 with a firearm that Boston Police criminalists matched to shell casings at Blue Hill Avenue and Pasadena Road. After an exhaustive grand jury investigation that featured testimony from multiple civilian witnesses, Stallings was indicted on Jan. 31, 2013.
Stallings’ sentencing has not yet been scheduled but is expected next week. He was represented by attorney Stephen Weymouth.