Guilty Plea in Fatal Shootings that Claimed Bystander

BOSTON, Aug. 11, 2015—A man who shot and killed an innocent bystander two years ago when he opened fire on rivals attacking his friend admitted his guilt today, accepting a state prison sentence rather than face trial, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

JAEL ROMERO (D.O.B. 5/30/90), who claimed addresses in Chelsea and Roxbury, pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter for causing the deaths of Ana Cruz, Felix Garcia Jr., and Brian Tirado in the early morning hours of June 22, 2013. He also pleaded guilty to single counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawfully carrying a loaded firearm. Judge Garry Inge sentenced him to a term of 13 to 16 years in state prison.

Romero admitted that he and a friend attended a house party on Intervale Street, where his friend was attacked by members of a rival group at about 4:20 am.

As his friend sustained six stab wounds and lacerations from the rivals, Romero pulled a handgun he was not licensed to carry and fired five rounds. Tirado, 23, was hit once and Garcia, 22, was hit twice. Both men died of their injuries. Two more rounds struck the 33-year-old Cruz in the leg and abdomen. She, too, was mortally wounded and died of her injuries at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Romero was initially indicted on three counts of second-degree murder. Had the case proceeded to trial, prosecutors would have had to overcome his claim, bolstered by witnesses, that he acted to defend his friend against the threat of death or serious bodily injury. Weighing the risk of trial against the certainty of a plea and its attendant state prison sentence, and considering the approval of the victims’ families, prosecutors accepted his admissions of guilt on the lesser included charges.

Erin O’Connor was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Romero was represented by attorney John Cunha.




All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.