BOSTON, Aug. 26, 2013—More than four years after he allegedly opened fire on a car full of young adults, killing three and nearly killing a fourth, the suspect in an unprovoked 2009 triple homicide in Dorchester was finally arraigned in the courtroom he fought so long to avoid, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
KERON PIERRE (D.O.B. 11/26/85), formerly of Mattapan, was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court today on three counts of first-degree murder for the March 29, 2009, shooting deaths of Shacora Gaines, 20, of Brockton; Chantal Palmer, 20, of Brockton; and Anthony Peoples, 19, of Boston. He was also charged with armed assault with intent to murder for allegedly shooting at but not hitting a 23-year-old woman who was also in the vehicle, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
“We can only imagine the terror these victims felt as a man fired at them again and again and again as they were trapped in a car, unable to escape,” Conley said. “As shocking and as terrible as it was, this crime could very well have been even worse, because the surviving victim could easily have been killed, too, and we believe that was the assailant’s intention.”
Pierre fled Boston to Trindad and Tobago days after the homicides, prosecutors said, and was arrested there on drug charges in 2010. By that time, authorities had identified him as a suspect and obtained a warrant for his arrest. Pierre was held in Trinidad on the warrant and fought rendition proceedings until recently, when he dropped what would have been his final appeal. On Friday, US Marshals escorted him from the island nation to Logan Airport, where Boston Police homicide detectives placed him under arrest.
“This case required not just a top-notch investigation but also protracted diplomatic efforts,” Conley said. “It also required patience and faith on the part of three families who had been waiting for so long to see justice done. Today, we’re a giant step closer to that goal.”
Assistant District Attorney Mark Lee, deputy chief of the DA’s Homicide Unit, recommended that Pierre be held without bail. Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson granted that request.
Lee told the court that the four victims had just left a fundraising party for a community event at 41 Mt. Ida Rd. in Dorchester and were in their car waiting for an additional friend. Pierre, who was with a group of his own friends, allegedly approached the car in a bid to speak to the young women inside. They were not interested, Lee said.
Instead of walking away, prosecutors say, Pierre reached to his waits, pulled a semiautomatic handgun, and began firing into the car. Gaines and Peoples were killed immediately; Palmer died of her injuries at Boston Medical Center. The fourth victim was miraculously unhurt.
NIGEL A. NICHOLS (D.O.B. 11/5/85) is charged as an accessory after the fact to the murders for allegedly driving Pierre away from the scene knowing what he had done. Within days of the murders, Lee said, Pierre asked his girlfriend’s mother to buy him a round-trip ticket to Trinidad and Tobago. She did, and he was not seen in Boston again until he returned in handcuffs.
The Suffolk County Grand Jury indicted Pierre and Nichols on Jan. 12, 2010. Nichols was arrested shortly thereafter and held on high bail that was later reduced; he went on to pick up a firearm possession charge in 2011 and is now back in custody.
Katherine Moran is the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Pierre is represented by attorney John Tardiff. He is expected to return to court on Sept. 19 and his trial is tentatively scheduled for July 28, 2014.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.