BOSTON, Aug. 26, 2016—The state’s highest court today affirmed the first-degree murder conviction of a man who gunned down 25-year-old Derrick Barnes – five years almost to the day since the man was shot to death on the porch of a relative’s Fayston Street home, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the murder and firearms convictions of FRANKIE HERNDON (D.O.B. 4/9/84) for the Aug. 27, 2011, shooting that claimed Barnes’ life. A second man, FREDERICK HENDERSON (D.O.B. 11/25/83), was convicted at the same trial for his role in the murder; his appeal is still pending. more »
BOSTON, Aug. 24, 2016—Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley today delivered the following remarks as he released his findings in the fatal shooting of USAAMAH RAHIM and hundreds of pages of eyewitness statements and other supporting documents to the media. His final report is online here.
“Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us. With me today are Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and Special Agent in Charge Harold Shaw of the FBI’s Boston office.
“Earlier today, I met with the family of Usaamah Rahim, who was fatally shot last year by a Boston Police detective and an FBI special agent assigned to a Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the FBI’s Boston Field Office. I informed Mr. Rahim’s family and their attorney today that I would not be seeking charges in connection with his death. The overwhelming evidence gathered and analyzed during the course of the past year proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Mr. Rahim was armed with a large, military-style knife and posed the threat of death or serious injury to the Task Force officers at the time of the shooting. Their use of deadly force was a lawful exercise of self-defense or defense of others and did not constitute a crime under Massachusetts law.
“This is the very same standard I’ve applied when declining to charge three civilians in the past five years alone who used deadly force to defend themselves against death or serious bodily injury.
“During my meeting with Mr. Rahim’s family and their attorney, I also released to them a copy of our investigative file, containing interviews with over a dozen eyewitnesses, the overwhelming majority of whom were civilians uninvolved with the Task Force or the terrorism investigation that led to Mr. Rahim. The file also includes a complete transcript of Boston Police dispatch recordings from that morning, every report generated by responding Boston Police officers and investigators, and footage from every surveillance camera at the scene.
“Pursuant to my policy for more than 10 years, I am releasing this investigative file to the media, as well – more than 770 pages of documentation, more than 370 digital images, and video from cameras at four separate commercial establishments.
“To my knowledge, this level of transparency in a fatal police shooting is unique to my office and unparalleled across the country. But because of the unusual nature of this case, which involves an ongoing prosecution of two men on federal terrorism charges, certain documents cannot be released, including the sworn statements of the surveillance team that encountered Mr. Rahim. But I want to reiterate that these materials were scrutinized during our investigation and legal analysis, and they are fully consistent with the physical evidence, camera footage, and eyewitness statements that we’re making available to you.
“As members of the Boston media know, Massachusetts is one of the few states in the country where the authority to direct and control death investigations is vested with the district attorney. In most big cities across the country, police departments perform their own investigations and hand off their charging decisions to prosecutors after the fact. In Suffolk County, the investigation is overseen from its inception by my office, an independent authority outside the command structure of the police department or, in this case, the FBI.
“The responsibility – first to find the facts through an exhaustive investigation, and then to apply the law – rests with me, not Commissioner Evans or Special Agent in Charge Shaw. I responded to the scene that morning with senior members of my staff, who oversaw the investigation from start to finish, and reported exclusively to me, with the input of other senior homicide prosecutors. I would like to note in particular the exhaustive work of the Boston Police Firearms Discharge Investigation Team led by Sergeant Detective John Ford and Lieutenant Detective Darrin Greeley, who gathered so much documentary evidence in the critical first few days.
“I’ve spoken to district attorneys and attorneys general from across the country over the past two years or so, all of them interested in what’s become known as the Boston Model for investigating police shootings. The hallmarks of that model include independent oversight through a prosecutor’s office, on-the-ground investigators who adhere to best practices in interviews and evidence recovery, and a policy of transparency with regard to documentation and legal analysis.
“This model builds confidence in our findings, but it also ensures that everyone involved is operating at the very highest levels of professionalism and integrity.
“Our investigation under that model revealed the following:
“Prior to the morning of June 2, 2015, members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force were surveilling Mr. Rahim as part of an investigation into his ties to the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL. Specifically, they were investigating his plan, with others, to commit crimes of terror and murder within the United States, targeting a person in New York City for beheading at the instruction of a known ISIL militant. The Task Force members knew that Mr. Rahim had purchased three large, military-style knives, including an Ontario Knife Company Model SP-6 fighting knife. This knife was 13 inches long with an eight-inch, double-edged blade.
“Very early on the morning of June 2, 2015, members of the Task Force listened to a recorded phone conversation between Mr. Rahim and a co-conspirator in which Mr. Rahim abandoned the plan to travel to New York City and instead planned an attack against police officers here in Boston. It was clear from this recorded conversation that Mr. Rahim did not expect to survive the attack.
“Upon hearing this recording, a Task Force supervisor notified the Boston Police and FBI agents who comprised the surveillance team of the sudden change in Mr. Rahim’s plans. The supervisor instructed the surveillance team to stop Mr. Rahim for questioning and prevent him from boarding public transportation, as he frequently did.
“At about 6:53 am, Mr. Rahim left his Roslindale apartment and walked to the CVS at 4600 Washington St. Surveillance cameras inside the store captured footage strongly suggesting that he was armed with the SP-6 fighting knife at this time.
“The sheath to that knife came with a cord that would allow it to be tied down on the wearer’s leg, and this cord is visible in the footage.
“Instead of proceeding to his usual bus stop, Mr. Rahim returned to his residence. The surveillance team did not take action and instead continued to watch him while Boston Police and the FBI alerted tactical teams to assist in detaining him.
“Minutes later, just after 7:00 am, the surveillance team observed Mr. Rahim leave his home again and walk to the bus stop. Because of their prior instructions, which were based on the threat that Mr. Rahim would pose in the target-rich environment of an MBTA bus or train station, the surveillance team approached him on foot to detain him.
“Based on the investigation thus far and the additional information developed that morning, there is no question that members of the Task Force had probable cause to arrest Mr. Rahim. They did not require a warrant to do so. In fact, knowing what they now did about his plans for that day, they had the duty to stop him before he could act.
“Members of the surveillance team approached with their weapons holstered. An eyewitness described this approach as “casual” rather than confrontational. They identified themselves as law enforcement officers. A Boston Police detective assigned to the team instructed Mr. Rahim to put his hands in the air. Mr. Rahim refused that instruction and drew his fighting knife from its sheath – the sheath that is visible in the CVS surveillance footage. Members of the surveillance team drew their firearms and repeatedly ordered him to drop his weapon.
“Mr. Rahim refused those orders and advanced on members of the surveillance team, who backed away from him. They attempted to de-escalate the situation by retreating a distance of nearly 50 feet, almost the entire length of the parking lot from Washington Street to Dunkin’ Donuts, and repeatedly ordering Mr. Rahim to drop his weapon.
“Their attempts to back away from him were observed by numerous civilian eyewitnesses in and near the parking lot. Mr. Rahim continued to advance on the officers, refused their orders to drop his weapon, and responded by saying ‘You drop yours’ and ‘Why don’t you shoot me?’ Mr. Rahim continued his armed advance until he was within several feet of the officers.
“Facing an active, continuing threat to himself and others, a Boston Police detective fired one round at Mr. Rahim and an FBI agent fired two rounds at him. All three rounds struck Mr. Rahim, who collapsed with the knife still in his hand. Members of the Task Force disarmed him, began providing medical assistance, and called for Boston EMS, which arrived moments later. EMTs treated him at the scene and rushed him to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he died of his injuries. An autopsy by the Chief Medical Examiner of Massachusetts revealed three gunshot wounds. The trajectory of those injuries, which entered from the front chest, front groin area, and right upper back, was consistent with the accounts of the Task Force officers who fired.
“As most of you know, it’s been my practice to identify the officers involved in a fatal shooting. The unique circumstances of this case, however, are quite different from those we’ve investigated in the past. This case involves a conspiracy to murder a specific civilian target, and uniformed police officers more generally, in the name of a terrorist organization.
“Identifying the Task Force officers by name could put them at risk, and in light of that risk we are not releasing their names. I am extending that same protection to the 18 witnesses at and near the scene who gave interviews to investigators. We are releasing the full content of their statements and observations, but we are not releasing their names or personal identifying information.
“As I mentioned earlier, certain other documents must also be withheld so as not to prejudice two of Mr. Rahim’s alleged co-conspirators. These two men are charged in a federal indictment with the same underlying offenses for which Mr. Rahim was first under investigation. Again, however, the small number of materials that are being withheld do not detract from the depth of the investigation or the legal analysis on which my charging decision is based, all of which has been made available to Mr. Rahim’s family, their civil counsel, and you, the media.
“After meeting with Mr. Rahim’s family, I had the chance to meet with community leaders, including several from Boston’s Islamic community. I told them, as I’ll tell you now, that Mr. Rahim was being investigated for his actions, not for his faith. My office has had a long and productive partnership with Minister Don Muhammad, the Muslim Athletic League, the Alrowda Masjid Mosque in Dorchester, and other groups. We value their contributions to Boston and Suffolk County, and I want to be clear – we condemn any violence perpetrated against them because of their religious or cultural heritage. My findings today are based solely on the facts that were known to the officers involved on June 2, 2015, and Massachusetts case law related to self-defense.
“Those of us in law enforcement are working in a time of unprecedented scrutiny when it comes to the use of lethal force by police. But whatever might be said of other cities across the country, we in Boston welcome that scrutiny, and we meet it with a policy of transparency that few, if any, can match.
“Commissioner Evans, Special Agent in Charge Shaw, and I can now try to answer any questions you might have.”
BOSTON, August 24, 2016— A Dorchester man previously convicted of rape was held on high bail during his arraignment for raping a woman in the South End, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ (D.O.B. 6/8/85) was arraigned today in Roxbury Municipal Court on charges of aggravated rape, indecent assault and battery, armed robbery, intimidation of a witness, and aggravated Kidnapping. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Riley of the DA’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Unit, Judge Pamela Dashiell imposed $500,000 bail and ordered Rodriguez to submit to GPS monitoring, remain under home confinement, and stay away and have no contact with the victim or witnesses in the event he is to be released on bail. more »
BOSTON, August 22, 2016— The man accused of fatally stabbing 23-year-old Gage Smith during a Paris Street altercation early Wednesday was ordered held without bail at his arraignment today, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
DARIUS BARRY (D.O.B. 12/22/97) was arraigned today in East Boston Municipal Court on a charge of murder. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Hickman of the DA’s Homicide Unit, Judge John McDonald ordered Barry held without bail. more »
BOSTON, August 19, 2016—A Needham woman was arraigned today on charges related to a motor vehicle crash in Downtown Crossing yesterday that injured three people, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
SHANITQUA STEELE (D.O.B. 12/12/90) was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on two dockets, one charging one count each of unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a collision causing personal injury, and use of a motor vehicle without authority and the second docket charging negligent operation and two additional counts of leaving the scene of a collision causing personal injury. Assistant District Attorney Caroline Humphrey recommended bail of $15,000 on each docket for a total of $30,000. Judge Lisa Grant imposed bail of $2,500 on each docket, for a total bail amount of $5,000. more »
BOSTON, August 17, 2016—State Police detectives assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office are continuing to investigate a single vehicle crash in West Roxbury that claimed the life of the driver, a 44-year-old Dedham man, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
A preliminary investigation indicates that the man was operating a 2000 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with one passenger in the area of Enneking Parkway when the vehicle lost control during a turn and left the roadway yesterday evening. The driver suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. The passenger, a 46-year-old Roslindale man, was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital with significant injuries. more »
BOSTON, Aug. 16, 2016–A former Dorchester resident was arraigned on child rape charges today, more than 20 years after he fled indictments handed down by a Suffolk County grand jury, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
JOHN J. HARTIN (D.O.B. 1/22/70) was arraigned today on five counts of rape of a child stemming from sexual assaults on two boys between 1991 and 1992. He was held on $1 million cash bail; should he post that amount, he must wear a GPS monitor and stay away from the victims, witnesses, and all children under 18. more »
BOSTON, August 15, 2016— A Roxbury man was held on high bail at his arraignment today on charges he shot a man after an argument and kidnapped a young relative, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
JUAN AYALA-POWELL (D.O.B. 7/13/89) of was arraigned today in Roxbury Municipal Court on charges of assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, kidnapping and endangering a minor by a relative, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, unlawful possession of ammunition, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and larceny of a motor vehicle. Judge Jonathan Tynes set bail in the amount of $150,000 bail and ordered Ayala-Powell to stay away and have no contact with the victim or witnesses, submit to GPS monitoring, and abide by a curfew in the event he is to be released on bail. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Amy Martin, Tynes revoked Ayala-Powell’s bail in an open case out of Dorchester Municipal Court charging forgery and uttering. more »
BOSTON, Aug. 10, 2016—An off-duty Cambridge police officer has been charged with beating a man in Revere during an altercation last month outside a Broadway restaurant, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
JONATHAN VICENTE (D.O.B. 11/5/90) was arraigned today in Chelsea District Court on charges of assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and malicious destruction of property in connection with the July 10 incident. Vicente walked into court today for his first scheduled court date following his July 11 arraignment for disturbing the peace, and as a result was released without monetary bail. Judge Matthew Machera ordered him to stay away from the victim and witnesses in the case. more »
BOSTON, August 9, 2016—Two men were arraigned yesterday on charges of trafficking methamphetamines after an overdose at a Downtown hotel led to the discovery a large amount of drugs in their room, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
JEFFREY BERTRAND (D.O.B. 12/30/85) of Everett and DYLAN DONAHUE (D.O.B. 8/29/92) of Granby were arraigned yesterday in Boston Municipal Court on charges of trafficking in more than 100 grams of methamphetamine. Donahue was additionally arraigned on two counts of possession of a Class B substance. Assistant District Attorney Daniel Nucci requested bail of $150,000 and orders that each defendant wear a GPS monitor, abide by a curfew, and stay away from the W Hotel in the event they are to be released on bail. Judge Michael Coyne set bail in the amount of $2,000 and ordered that the men each submit to GPS monitoring and home confinement and stay away from the city of Boston in the event they are released. more »
BOSTON, August 8, 2016—An Everett man was held on high bail at his arraignment today on charges of photographing up a woman’s skirt and possessing child pornography, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
MARK BARRY (D.O.B. 6/11/65) was arraigned today in Charlestown Municipal Court on charges of photographing sexual or intimate parts without consent and possession of child pornography as a third offense. According to prosecutors, he was previously convicted of possession of child pornography in federal court in 2002 and of possessing child pornography as a second offense in Suffolk Superior Court in 2013 for which he is currently on probation after his release from a three-year prison sentence. Those charges stemmed from an incident in which he was arrested for photographing up the skirt of a child on the MBTA, leading to the discovery of child pornography images on his phone.
At the request of Assistant District Attorney Nicole Poirier, Judge Lawrence McCormick set bail in the amount of $100,000. Also at Poirier’s request, McCormick ordered Barry not to work, volunteer, reside, or have unsupervised contact with children under 18; not loiter within 300 feet of any location where children regularly congregate; allow the Department of Probation to search his computers, electronic devices, and photos; not use the internet unless required for his employment; wear a GPS monitor; stay away and have no contact with witnesses in the case; and not use public transportation in the event he is to be released on bail. more »
BOSTON, Aug. 5, 2016—The Massachusetts Appeals Court today affirmed the murder conviction of a man found guilty in the 2009 shooting death of 32-year-old Carl Bonnie, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
In an unpublished decision released today, the Appellate Court denied a new trial for TREVOR “SPECIALIST” HIGGINS (D.O.B. 10/22/74), who was convicted of second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a shotgun in connection with the shooting that claimed Bonnie’s life during a drug deal. A second man involved in the shooting, GREGORY “BUDDHA” KNIGHT (D.O.B. 5/16/82), pleaded guilty to his role in the homicide prior to the trial. more »
BOSTON, Aug. 1, 2016—A prosecutor assigned to Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s Juvenile Unit has been as honored as one of the country’s top young rising attorneys by the American Bar Association.
The ABA today recognized Assistant District Attorney Brett Walker as one of the nation’s Top 40 Young Attorneys. Walker was selected for the inaugural list of honorees for his leadership, professionalism, and dedication to service in both the courtroom and the community. more »
BOSTON, Aug. 1, 2016—The target of a State Police narcotics investigation is behind bars today and more than 400 grams of cocaine have been taken off the streets of Boston, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
NICANDER SERNA (D.O.B. 6/1/70), also known as LUIS BORJA, was held on $500,000 cash bail at his arraignment Friday in Brighton Municipal Court on six counts of trafficking in cocaine. Should he post that amount, he must wear a GPS monitoring device. more »
BOSTON, July 29, 2016—A Lynn man charged with attempting to kidnap and sexually assault a woman walking alone in Revere will be held without bail pending the outcome of a dangerousness hearing next week, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
GERARDO PORTILLO (D.O.B. 5/23/90) was arraigned today in East Boston Municipal Court on charges of assault with intent to commit a felony, assault with intent to rape, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury, strangulation, indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, and attempt to commit a crime in connection with the June 25 assault, as well as a charge of reckless endangerment of a child for allegedly leaving a young child alone in his vehicle at the time of the assault.
At the request of Assistant District Attorney Natalia Belland, Judge John McDonald ordered Portillo held without bail pending the outcome of a dangerousness hearing under Chapter 276, Section 58A, of the Massachusetts General Laws, which allows a judge to hold a defendant accused of certain offenses without bail for up to 120 days pending trial upon “clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community.” That hearing is scheduled to take place Aug. 5. more »