Perez re-arraigned for 2013 murder after key witness returns

By Alec Cheung

The man accused of killing Edward Villalona in March of 2013 has been re-arraigned on murder charges.

Yerri Perez, 24, was ordered held without bail after a Friday indictment for the first-degree murder of Villalona, who was shot and killed on March 31, 2013, which was also Easter day. 

Yerri Perez

Yerri Perez

Perez was first arrested in August of 2013, charged with shooting Villalona to death. Yet a key witness to the crime left the country before Perez was set to go on trial. In December, the trial was pushed back once more, and at a hearing in January, the DA’s office withdrew their indictment. Spokesman Jake Wark told Homicide Watch Boston that prosecutors had “every intention of moving forward with the case,” and investigators from the DA’s office worked to locate the witness through the winter.

The “previously missing” witness returned to Massachusetts recently, and Perez was indicted again on Friday.

During the indictment, Perez’s defense attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio, cited specific legal rules and said that due to  “speedy trial issues,” the indictment should not be happening and that the whole trial should be voided.

“We were ready to go to trial much earlier, they weren’t, and now they’re indicting him on the same charges,” Scapicchio said after the indictment. “It’s a serious violation on Mr. Perez’s constitutional rights.”

Prosecutors argued that Perez should be held without bail due to an “overwhelming amount of evidence,” which included a physical description of Perez by eyewitnesses, eyewitness testimony of his appearance in a white Ford Flex, the same car the suspect fled the crime scene from, as well as witness testimony of Perez’s reaction to the victim’s death. “That’s what b***h n****** get,” Perez allegedly said after Villalona’s death.

Scapicchio further argued that the defendant should not be held at all since he did not try to flee the country after he was let out on bail, and that he had met every single court appearance to date. Perez is also facing unrelated heroin trafficking charges in Suffolk Superior Court.

Although a specific trial date was not set, prosecutors and the defense agreed to set the date before April 17, 2017.

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