March 26, 2010

Convicted Feline Felon Arrested in East Boston on Drug Trafficking Charges

If you don't remember the name Luigi Epifania, it's because he was known around Boston as the "Cat Killer". In 2008, Epifania was found guilty of strangling and stomping a cat to death, putting it in a bag, lighting it on fire and then throwing it into an apartment building. At the time when that case arose, he was awaiting trial on Attempted Murder charges for stabbing a man and then beating him with a frying pan during a drug deal gone bad.

Now, Epifania was again arrested by Boston Police in East Boston for Trafficking OxyContin. The Boston Police Department reports that he was spotted by drug offices in East Boston, who followed him and observed him engage in a drug transaction.

At the time of this most recent arrest, Epifania was on probation for his previous 2008 criminal cases. At that time, he had been sentenced to 2.5 years in jail for the Cruelty to Animal charge; and 5 years' probation for the attempted murder charge. Epifania could also be charged with Violation of Probation as a result of this newest criminal charge.

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March 25, 2010

Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules Homeless Shelters Entitled to 4th Amendment Privacy Protections

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's recent decision of Commonwealth v. Porter P., a juvenile, focused on whether a person temporarily staying in room in a homeless transitional center is entitled to a 'reasonable expectation of privacy' against unlawful searches and searches. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in a 5-2 decision, ruled that they do!

By way of background, the juvenile defendant and his mother had moved into a room at the Roxbury Multi-Service Center Family House Shelter in March 2006, which provides temporary housing for homeless families and assists them towards securing a permanent home. A few months later, the shelter's director heard rumors that the juvenile defendant had a gun and then contacted the Boston Police Department. The next morning, five Boston Police Officers arrived at the shelter, and with the permission from the Roxbury shelter's directors, searched the juvenile's room and found a .40 caliber Glock firearm. The juvenile was immediately arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm; Unlawful Possession of Ammunition; and Delinquency.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in ruling for the juvenile defendant, found that

"the room that the juvenile and his mother shared at the shelter was a transitional living space, but it was nonetheless their home...".
As a result, they had a reasonable expectation of privacy in their 'home' at the shelter, and the Boston Police Officers' search, without a warrant or consent by them, was violative of their 4th Amendment Right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Justice Ralph Gants, the author of the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision in this case, ruled that even the shelter's director did not have the 'actual authority' to consent to the police entry into the room to search for a gun. Justice Gants explained that the Roxbury shelter's director was not a co-inhabitant of the room, and although the shelter's guidelines permitted them to call the police, the guidelines did not expressly authorize the police to enter a resident's room and to search for evidence of a crime without consent or a warrant.

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March 24, 2010

Hit & Run In Boston Leads to Drunk Driving Arrest in Brookline

Bonnie McCullough, 31 of Cambridge, was arrested for several drunk driving charges last Friday by Brookline Police after an alleged hit and run incident. Driving in the Allston area of Boston, McCullough is alleged to have hit a man's car without stopping.

The man, who witnessed the incident, got in his car and, while on the phone with Brookline Police, chased McCullough into Brookline, where he was able to get her to pull over and take her keys until Brookline Police arrived.

After Brookline Police responded, McCullough reportedly admitted to drinking several beers and hard alcohol. She was arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage. At the time of her arrest, it was also discovered that she had less than an ounce of marijuana and was further issued a Civil Citation.

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March 23, 2010

Boston Ranked Amongst Most Vulnerable Cities for Cyber-Crimes

In a recent study by the data security firm Symantec Corporation, Boston ranked as the No. 2 worst city for Cyber/Internet Crimes city in America, narrowly missing the top spot, which was taken by Seattle.

According to the Cyber-Crime Report, the high concentration of "spam zombies" (computers taken over by outside hackers to send out spam) and Boston's numerous unsecured WiFi hotspots makes Boston particularly vulnerable to Cyber Crime attacks. Although large-scale cyber crime attacks are far between, the smaller-scale attacks on computer users and businesses using unsecured WiFi networks is on the high end.

Cyber/Internet Crimes can lead to a wide variety of criminal charges aside from 'spamming.' Other common Cyber/Internet Crimes include Identity Theft, Fraud, Larceny, Embezzlement, and even Sex Crimes.

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March 22, 2010

Marblehead Teen Charged with Vehicular Homicide in Death of Salem Woman

Christopher Maxson, 19, of Marblehead, was arrested last night after he collided with a car on Eastern Avenue in Lynn and then struck several parked cars before rolling over. As a result of the crash, Julia Gauthier, 19, of Salem, was ejected from the sunroof and died from her injuries.

Maxson was arraigned today in Lynn District Court on various drunk driving charges, including Reckless Operation of a Vehicle and Motor Vehicle Homicide.

The Lynn Police Department responded to reports of a motor vehicle crash with injuries at Eastern Avenue and Glenwood Street in Lynn, near the Swampscott line, at 1:00 a.m. Besides, Maxson and Gauthier, there were two other passengers in the vehicle.

After his arraignment, Christopher Maxson was reportedly held on $12,000 cash bail.

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March 20, 2010

Quincy Man Charged with Assault for Somerville Stabbing

Joseph Beaton, 25 of Duxbury, was arrested last week in Quincy for allegedly stabbing a man in Somerville, Massachusetts. On March 17, 2009, Somerville Police responded to a call that a man had been stabbed twice in the chest, as well as a wound to his elbow. Beaton was arrested on March 19 in Quincy.

The Somerville Police investigation resulting from this incident led police to Beaton, who is reported to have made incriminating statements implicating himself in the assault or stabbing. The victim's girlfriend later told Somerville Police that Beaton got into a fight at a party with the Somerville resident, and then stabbed him as a result.

After the assault, the victim was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was treated for his stab wounds. Although the Somerville man's condition was initially listed as 'critical', it was later changed to 'life threatening.'

Beaton is expected to be arraigned in Quincy District Court on Monday and charged with Assault, Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon, and Assault with Intent to Murder.

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March 19, 2010

Quincy Man Arrested for Braintree Robbery

Mark J. McMullen of Quincy, Massachusetts, was arrested on March 17 for stealing two cigarette cartons from a Mobil gas station near the South Shore Plaza in Braintree. The store clerk told police that the man, later identified as McMullen, requested to buy the two cartons and after he retrieved them, he snatched them out of his hands and ran out of the store.

The clerk was able to write down the registration number of the car, and also produced the surveillance videos from the store which captured the larceny. The Braintree Police Department had been investigating several other Theft Crimes in Braintree, Quincy and Boston by a suspect driving a dark-colored vehicle with CT registration. The police suspect that McMullen may be responsible for those other robberies as well.

McMullen is also a criminal suspect in another Theft Crime that happened on March 16, also in Braintree, Massachusetts. In that robbery, a man went to Cumberland Farms in Braintree and also took off with two cartons of cigarettes as well. That criminal suspect is also reported to have fled in a dark-colored vehicle with CT registration.

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March 18, 2010

Boston Police Make Drug Arrests in Roslindale Pub

489540_various_abusive_drugs.jpgA drug investigation by the West Roxbury Boston Police Drug Control Unit, relying on information provided by a 'confidential informant' about drugs being sold at BK's Pub at 4272 Washington Street in Boston's Roslindale section resulted in the arrest of two people. Alexander Perez-Figueroa, of Dorchester, and Elsa M. Parrilla, also of Dorchester, were both arrested and each charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class B Substance.

The confidential informant told police that a woman would sell drugs from BK's Pub in Roslindale by receiving orders in the bar and receiving money for the drugs. A 'drug dealer' would then be contacted, she would meet him on Poplar Street to obtain the drugs, and then allegedly distribute those drugs to the buyers.

The Boston Police Drug Control Unit allege they observed several people approach the woman and hand her money. She was then observed using her cell phone, thereafter leaving the bar in her car and conducting the transaction with occupants within another car. At the time of her arrest, the Boston Police report that she admitted to be in possession of cocaine, for which she reportedly paid $1,000.

That other car was also stopped by the Boston Police, and both the driver and passenger were arrested for violation of the drug control laws. Interestingly, only $407 dollars in total was seized from these two men. They were charged with Distribution of a Class B Substance and School Zone Violations.

Additionally, the 'buyer' from the bar was also summonsed to be charged in West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court with the drug crimes of Possession of a Class B Substance with Intent to Distribute and School Zone Violation.

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March 17, 2010

Former Harvard Student Charged with Cambridge Murder

Brittney Smith, 22, was recently indicted by the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office in connection with the murder of 21 year old Justin Cosby, of Cambridge. Smith, a former Harvard University student, will soon be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on several criminal charges, including Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Accessory to Murder After the Fact, Willfully Misleading a Grand Jury Investigation, and Willfully Misleading a Police Officer.

According to reports, the Cambridge Police Department and Harvard University Police responded to a 'shots fired' call on May 18, 2009, at a Harvard College dorm. Upon their arrival, they found Justin Cosby had left the dorm and ran to the intersection of Dunster and Mount Auburn Street, where he collapsed from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Based on the criminal investigation by the Massachusetts State Police, Cambridge Police, Harvard University Police and the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, it is alleged that three men from New York arranged to meet Cosby with the goal of robbing him. The meeting took place inside the Kirkland House dorm, at which point several shot were fired.

The criminal defendant, Brittney Smith, was a Harvard student at the time of the incident, who allegedly invited Cosby to the campus and he gave her his Harvard ID, which she in turn gave to the three men to access the building. After the shooting, Cambridge Police alleged that Smith took the gun used in the murder and hid it under a friend's bed in the dormitory.

Thereafter, Smith and the three men immediately left the Boston area. Smith returned the next day from out of state and is alleged to have lied to Cambridge and Harvard Police about her whereabouts, as well as telling them she had the key pass with her the entire time. After the incident, Harvard University suspended Smith.

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March 16, 2010

Massachusetts Criminal Conviction Rates in Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk & Worcester Counties Released

Many people not directly involved in the Massachusetts criminal justice system ordinarily do not hear much about what happens after certain cases are publicized. Media coverage of criminal cases, whether a murder, armed robbery, or drunk driving accident is highlighted almost daily. What the public only typically hears, however, is when someone is arrested, or when a 'high-profile' crime goes to trial. If someone is convicted of a high-profile crime, that's front-page headlines all over the Massachusetts media.

Well, what about the thousands of other criminal cases that are prosecuted annually...the ones that don't receive the extensive media attention? People might wonder, but don't often realize, that criminal conviction rates for cases tried in the Superior Court Departments in Boston and throughout Massachusetts are not as high as you might expect.

In data recently released by the Massachusetts Office of the Jury Commissioner, it is reported that in 2009, the criminal conviction rate in Suffolk County and Middlesex County for criminal cases that went to trial was only 62%. By comparison, the criminal conviction rate in Norfolk County was 59%, and Worcester County was 34%.

Because these criminal conviction rate numbers for Massachusetts counties consider a guilty verdict on at least one felony as a conviction, one might argue that the criminal conviction rates are actually lower than those reported. For example, if someone is charged with 5 felony indictments, and the criminal defendant is only convicted of 1 of them, then that is considered a conviction - even though the defendant may only have been convicted of the 'least serious' of those felonies.

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March 15, 2010

Boston Homeland Security Official on Trial for Employing Illegal Worker

The trial of Lorraine Henderson, a former top Homeland Security Official from Boston, began today in Federal District Court. You may remember that Henderson was arrested in December 2008 after she was caught on a wiretap warning her housekeeper, Fabiana Bittencourt, not to leave the country because she won't be let back in. The person wearing the wiretap was the housekeeper, who had been cooperating with the United States District Attorney's Office.

The criminal defendant was charged with Employment of Illegal Aliens, as well as Encouraging an Illegal Immigrant to Remain in the Country, a felony punishable up to 10 years in prison.

Isn't it ironic that one of the top officials in charge of 'homeland security' and with enforcing the United States' customs and immigration laws is a criminal defendant on trial with violating the same laws she swore to enforce? The funny thing is, she's certainly not the first, nor the last 'law enforcement official' who will get caught up with illegal or criminal activity.

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March 13, 2010

Essex County D.A.'s Office Charges Two Men in 34 Year Old Gloucester Murder

Kevin Ireland, 54 of Gloucester, Massachusetts, was arrested yesterday for the murder of a woman in a Gloucester funeral home that occurred 34 years ago. Also charged with murder was Norman Pike of San Francisco, who was the grandson of the funeral home owner and who fled the Gloucester area shortly after the murder and began using the alias "Dan Franklin."

Norman Pike was arrested this past Monday by officers from various agencies, including the Gloucester Police Department and Massachusetts State Police. At this time, he has contested rendition from California and it could take up to 3 months to have him brought to Massachusetts to be arraigned on Murder charges in Gloucester District Court.

The Essex County District Attorney's Office alleges that Ireland, Pike, and a third man who is now deceased, went to rob the funeral home's safe. During the robbery, it is believed the victim walked in on the two men and was then murdered.

Despite this murder having gone unsolved for 34 years, investigators from the Gloucester Police Department and the Essex County District Attorney's Office recently reviewed the case and began re-interviewing witnesses who had been questioned at the time. The Essex County District Attorney's Office reports that, as a result of those re-interviews, police were able to secure arrest warrants for Kevin Ireland and Norman Pike.

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March 12, 2010

Lynn Man Arrested for Trying to Steal Cash Register at Salem Family Dollar

This past Wednesday, Hosea Kendrick, 40 of Lynn, was arrested and charged with Attempt to Commit a Crime, Larceny from a Building, for allegedly trying to steal the cash register drawer from a Family Dollar Store in Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem Police allege that while the store clerk wasn't looking, Kendrick jumped the counter and tried, unsuccessfully, to remove the drawer from the cash register. When the clerk finally noticed, she heard a woman signal to the man, and the two then left the store together. The store clerk was able to get a description of the criminal suspect's car and, minutes later, Salem Police Officers saw that car and eventually arrested Hosea Kendrick and Christina Lupoli, also of Lynn, Massachusetts. Salem Police Officers brought Kendrick and Lupoli back to the Family Dollar Store and the clerk reportedly identified each of them as the would-be robbers.

This most recent attempted robbery follows two very recent similar robberies in the past few months. In January, a cash register was stolen from the Walgreens on Boston Street in Salem; and just last week, a masked robber also stole a cash register from another Walgreens in Beverly. At this time, Salem Police are continuing to investigating whether Hosea Kendrick and Christina Lupoli have any connection to these previous robberies.

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March 11, 2010

Malden Man Arrested Again in Boston for Another Robbery

Michael McInnis, 34 of Malden, was arrested for the second time in the past few weeks yesterday for another robbery, this time in Boston, Massachusetts. According to Boston Police, McInnis was arrested along with Crystle Sears, 22, after a witness reported them breaking into Liberty Tax Service at 2:50 a.m. Both McInnis and Sears were identified by witness(es) at the scene, and Sears was allegedly carrying a hammer and wood chisel.

Boston Police are charging McInnis with Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime for a Felony; Possession of Burglarious Instruments; Malicious Destruction of Property Over $250; and Disorderly Conduct. Sears was likewise charged with Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime for a Felony; Possession of Burglarious Instruments; and Malicious Destruction of Property Over $250.

You may remember that Michael McInnis was arrested last month in Malden, Massachusetts, after allegedly robbing a 7-11 of about $100. That robbery was widely reported because surveillance video captured a 75-yeard old elderly woman coming to the aid of the store clerk as he was being robbed.

According to Malden Police, Michael McInnis' extensive history of arrests are what led him to being easily identified from the surveillance video. It is reported that he has been criminally charged 13 times over the past 10 years in Malden District Court from criminal offenses ranging from Disturbing the Peace to Robbery. He also recently served 60 days in jail for traffic violations.

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March 10, 2010

Police Lose Man in Pursuit After Unarmed Robbery of Diamonds at Braintree Mall

The Braintree Police Department continue to investigate and search for a man who pulled off a robbery of two diamonds yesterday from Zales Jewelry Store at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Massachusetts. The stolen diamonds are said to be valued at $20,000 each.

According to police, the man walked into the jewelry store and asked to see a couple of diamonds. At the moment when the store employee was holding both diamonds in her hands, the man suddenly snatched the jewels and ran out of the store, where a getaway car was waiting for him.

The suspect's car was chased by a nearby Braintree Police Officer, and was observed speeding onto Route 93 headed towards Boston. The criminals were followed all the way to East Milton Square, at which time the Braintree Police Officer was told to call off the pursuit. Braintree Mall Security were able to provide the officers with a partial plate number of the getaway car, but it is reported that the car had Michigan plates. I wouldn't be surprised if these plates were attached to conceal the registered owner of the car, or if the car was stolen altogether.

Video surveillance footage from the Braintree jewelry store shows the man entering the store and speaking with the sales associate, but Braintree Police believe the man was aware of the presence of cameras and was very careful in keeping his head down.

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