Articles Posted in Miscellaneous

Pike Chase.jpgEarly yesterday afternoon, Massachusetts State Police Officers initiated pursuit of Alejandro Serra for allegedly driving through downtown Boston and screaming out of his car, and then driving at a man and his grandson who asked him to turn down the music.

Serra, however, wouldn’t stop for Massachusetts State Police Troopers, and led them on a high-speed chase on the Massachusetts Turnpike from Boston to Framingham. The chase only ended when Serra rammed his can into a Massachusetts State Police vehicle and spun out of control.

Alejandro Serra was arraigned this morning in the Boston Municipal Court on several charges including Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and Failure to Stop for Police.

Boston Federal prosecutors allege that two Cambridge residents were arrested in a national sweep for allegedly serving as spies for Russian intelligence. 10 other people were arrested as part of the sweep, all alleged spies living across the eastern seaboard. The couple, living in Cambridge as Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley, were arrested at their home in Cambridge on Sunday.

Both Heathfield and Foley were charged in Boston’s Federal Court with Conspiracy to Act an an Unregistered Agent of a Foreign Government and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering.

In their indictment, prosecutors allege that the couple had met with an employee of the U.S. government regarding nuclear weapons research and had discussed a method for sending secret messages to Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow. As recently at 2006, a search of the couple’s townhouse led to the discovery of traces of deleted electronic messages that were believed to be part of messages that were later sent to Russian headquarters using a process called “steganogrphy” (a process where encrypted data can be placed on images on publicly available websites but without the data being visible to the casual user).

Faisal Shahzad.jpgFaisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born U.S. Citizen, plead guilty today in Manhattan’s Federal Court in connection with the failed Times Square bombing this past May. The 10-count indictment included charges of Conspiracy to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction; Attempting an Act of Terrorism; and Transportation of an Explosive.

Shahzad is a self-proclaimed “Muslim soldier” who resided in Connecticut and who apparently had no history of support for jihad and was not on the U.S. government’s watch list. It was discovered, however, that he had received ‘terror training’ in Pakistan sometime late in 2009. He told the court that he had traveled to Pakistan to join the Tehrik-e-Taliban extremist group and trained with them for 40 days, with an additional 5 days of explosives training. It was also reported that he had received about $12,000 to help fund the car-bomb attack.

Upon his guilty plea, Shahzad explained that he arrived in Times Square on May 1st sometime after 6:00 p.m. and lit the fuses, hoping the bomb would explode in less than 5 minutes. He also stated that he then walked to Grand Central Station and listened for the bomb to explode. When he didn’t hear anything, he took a train back to Connecticut. Inside the car bomb were several bags of fertilizer, 2 5-gallon gasoline canisters, 152 M-88 fireworks, 3 propane gas canisters and 2 alarm clocks connected to wires.

Kenneth McElroy, 45, has filed a lawsuit in Boston Federal Court alleging Civil Rights violations by the Lowell Police Department. He is seeking $500,000 in damages for a herniated disc, nerve damage, and soreness and bruising that caused him to miss several months of work.

The incident resulted from McElroy’s arrest on criminal charges including Assault with a Dangerous Weapon and Disorderly Conduct. Attorneys representing the City of Lowell Police Department claim the lawsuit is without merit and have asked that the suit be thrown out.

According to his lawsuit, McElroy drove to Lowell in April of 2008 to pickup up James Earle who was to help him with a construction project. As he was driving, the operator of a parked truck opened its driver’s-side door and nearly caused an accident. Not knowing if McElroy had struck the vehicle, he got out of his truck to see if there was any damage to either vehicle.

boston_police_officer_loads_bean_ball_gun_800x600.jpgEarlier this week, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis released a flier throughout various communities in the City of Boston showing photos of 10 unidentified young men the police allege belong to a street gang. I’m not going to qualify the flier by posting it on this Blog, but it looks like a mug shot composite. The purpose in releasing the photos of these men, they police say, is to “shame them” for being gang members and to make them “outcasts” in their neighborhood.

Although the Boston Police Commissioner then qualified the Department’s objectives by clarifying that the men depicted in the photographs were not currently facing any criminal charges or had outstanding warrants, he stated that they were “absolutely high on [the Boston Police Department’s] list of targets”. Well, if they haven’t committed a crime and they’re not currently wanted for a crime, then tell us: why are they a high priority target??? The objective, apparently, is to receive information from the public on these men and charge them with whatever criminal activity gained from any tips.

Interestingly enough, I represented two of the men depicted in the photograph released by the Boston Police Department. One of the men had no prior criminal history and pled guilty to Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon and Intimidation of a Witness; the other was charged with Armed Robbery and was found Not Guilty after trial (and this man had no prior criminal convictions). …hardly the bios of reputed gang members who are high on the Boston Police target list. Having met these 2 kids and gotten to know them over the course of a year, I find it unbelievable that these two are among the top ten most reputed gang members in the City of Boston.

A man attempting to rob Llanera Market in South Boston earlier this week got stuck in the metal grate he tried to shimmy between.

The security camera caught Phillip Donahue breaking into the store on East 8th Street by starting to bend the metal grate at approximately 2:25 a.m. By 3:30 a.m., he had gotten his head through but ended up getting stuck.

When Boston Police arrived on scene, the man was still stuck between the metal grates. He was immediately arrested and charged with Breaking & Entering at Nighttime to Commit a Felony.

When Boston Police and firefighters first responded to Gavin Way yesterday for an unknown medical call, they didn’t know what to expect. They quickly discovered that a second-floor apartment was on fire and a man had jumped from the second floor…and that a woman was inside the burning apartment, suffering from multiple stab wounds.

Boston Police report that the man, in an effort of Attempted Murder and Mayhem, set fire to the apartment also stabbed the woman. It’s unclear at this time whether the woman, whose name was withheld, was his girlfriend or wife. As police responded to the area, the man had barricaded himself inside, preventing any police or medical personnel from entering. As the police were trying to use hostage negotiators to communicate with him, he responded by throwing debris from the balcony to the police below.

Suddenly, without provocation or warning, the man jumped from the second-floor balcony to his death. The woman, who had two young children with her during the incident, was listed as in critical condition.

Kevin Grannum, 45, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was arrested this past Tuesday by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority after “piggy backing” through the entrance gates at the MBTA’s Fields Corner Station.

After stopping Grannum, the MBTA Police Officers also discovered that he was wanted on 11 outstanding warrants for various criminal charges, including Assault & Battery on a Police Officer, Intimidation of a Witness, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Receiving Stolen Property and Resisting Arrest. He was also cited $15 for Fare Evasion.

Throughout my years in practice in Boston as a criminal defense lawyer, I can tell you that, if a Warrant has been issued against you, the police will ultimately arrest you on that warrant. In so many instances, even with present and former client, criminal defendants will neglect to appear for their court date. When that happens, the court will definitely issue a Default Warrant against him/her. Only in instances where I have been able to offer a very good explanation for a client’s non-appearance has a Judge not issued a warrant (admitted in the hospital; pre-existing medical condition; conflicting court dates; etc.).

Two men were arrested last week in Brookline, Massachusetts, for allegedly Trespassing in a parking lot where recent car break-ins have been reported. Victor Edwardo Pena, of Jamaica Plain, and Nathan Ortega, of Dorchester, were both charged with Possession of Burglarious Tools, Receiving Stolen Property, and Trespassing.

The Brookline Police Officer who pulled the car over noticed a tool commonly used to break car windows, and also a flashlight under the Pena’s, the driver’s thigh. After ordering the men out of the car, the Brookline Officer also saw a screwdriver between the driver’s seat and door. Because the recent car break-ins were allegedly done using a flathead screwdriver, the officer then pat-frisked the occupants and searched their car, finding eight flathead screwdrivers, a black cap, two gloves, and a flashlight.

A subsequent inventory search of the car also revealed several GPS units, backpacks, keys, and personal effects bearing the names of other people. According to Brookline Police, these items were then traced to motor vehicle break-ins of at least 26 cars in Brookline, Boston, Cambridge and Norwood.

Derek Capozzi, of Beverly, convicted of Murder in Massachusetts for the 1996 killing of a woman, escaped from federal custody the other day by kicking through the door of a prisoner transport van in Kentucky.

In 2005, Capozzi was convicted in Federal District Court for the 1996 killing of Aislin Silva, then 19, of Medford, Massachusetts. Silva was allegedly killed by a gang of drug dealers and thieves who were allegedly connected to the Mafia. It was alleged that Capozzi helped cut her body into small pieces and bury them after another mobster strangled her.

Capozzi was convicted of Conspiracy to Murder, Accessory After the Fact, and Conspiracy to Commit Robbery and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He had already been sentenced on an unrelated Gun / Firearms and Extortion charges where he had been sentenced to 30 years.

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