BOSTON, June 21, 2012—A Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted two Dorchester gang members of all charges in the 2010 shooting death of 14-year-old Nicholas Fomby-Davis, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
Jurors deliberated for about four hours before convicting JOSHUA FERNANDES (D.O.B. 8/8/93) and CRISOSTOMO LOPES (D.O.B. 2/27/90) of first-degree murder for Fomby-Davis’ May 30, 2010, shooting death. Fernandes was additionally convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Both defendants, whom prosecutors say were associated with a street gang that called itself “Homes Ave,” face mandatory terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole when Judge Patrick Brady sentences them tomorrow.
“It’s the only appropriate sentence,” Conley said. “Nicholas’ family and everyone who knew him in his short life, deserves the certain knowledge that his killers will never walk Boston’s streets again.”
Conley’s top prosecutor, First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan, proved during about two weeks of testimony that Lopes grabbed the boy off his brother’s scooter in the area of Bowdoin and Olney streets that Saturday evening and held him out like a target while Fernandes fired four shots at him. Fomby-Davis was struck in the chest and leg.
The boy stumbled across the street into nearby Peguero’s Market and collapsed. Inexplicably, people inside the store carried him back out and left him on the sidewalk, where he died.
Evidence and testimony established that the slain boy had been riding on the back of a scooter driven by his older brother, then 15, in their neighborhood a short time earlier. At one point during that time, the older brother – who was not gang-involved and who did not know the defendants – nearly hit Lopes as Lopes rode his bicycle on the same street.
The evidence established that the two brothers rode the scooter home and the older of the two went inside. Fomby-Davis took that opportunity to ride his brother’s scooter around the block.
Meanwhile, video surveillance showed, Lopes and Fernandes had been stalking the area and apparently waiting for the brother’s return. When they spotted Fomby-Davis coming down the street, Lopes snatched him off the scooter and Fernandes fired four shots, hitting the boy twice. Evidence suggested that he might have kept shooting had his gun not jammed.
“This was, in a sense, a case of mistaken identity,” Conley said. “These defendants planned on killing the operator of that scooter, and instead they killed his younger brother. But this case would have been every bit as senseless, every bit as sickening, if they had shot their intended target. There was no feud. There was no rivalry. There was no bad blood. There were just two gang members with easy access to a gun and absolutely no regard for human life.”
An off-duty Boston Police officer driving in the area spotted Lopes and Fernandes lurking in the area just before the shooting. They appeared to be waiting for something, looking intensely down Olney Street, and Fernandes appeared to be holding something in his bocket.
Based on his observations and believing – correctly – that they were engaging or preparing to engage in criminal activity, the officer pulled over on Olney Street and watched them. Moments later, as Fomby-Davis entered the Bowdoin Street intersection on his brother’s scooter, the officer watched them pounce on the boy, with Lopes holding him and Fernandes shooting him.
The officer drew his firearm and ordered Fernandes to drop his gun. Fernandes instead put it in his pocket and sprinted off while Lopes pedaled away on his bicycle. The officer pursued him and radioed to other units. Two additional Boston Police officers in the immediate area soon saw Fernandes running on Norton Street, where he ducked behind a car momentarily. Seconds later, the officers took him into custody. Near that car they recovered a .25 caliber semiautomatic handgun that was later shown to be a ballistic match to the weapon that killed Fomby-Davis.
As Fernandes was being arrested, Lopes arrived on his bicycle. The off-duty officer immediately recognized him as the one who had held Fomby-Davis while Fernandes shot him. The officer drew his firearm and ordered him to the ground.
At trial, the off-duty officer’s testimony was corroborated by civilian witnesses and surveillance footage from a nearby building. Fernandes’ attorney said he was lying, a tactic Conley said the jury plainly rejected.
“That was outstanding police work,” Conley said. “The off-duty officer’s instincts were perfect. The response of additional officers was immediate. The investigation that followed was thorough, comprehensive, and everything we ask of homicide detectives. I want to commend all the men and women of Boston Police and our office who contributed to this case and this result.”
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis echoed that sentiment.
“I would like to especially recognize Police Officer Anthony Williams for intervening in this murderous assault,” he said. “I am particularly gratified that the jury rejected the outrageous claims made by defense counsel. My thoughts and prayers are with the Fomby-Davis family today. I sincerely hope that today’s guilty verdicts help them cope with their tragic loss.”
Haggan was second-seated by Assistant District Attorney Janis Noble of Conley’s Appellate Division. Kara Hayes was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Executive aide Catherine Rodriguez lent logistical assistance throughout the proceedings. Fernandes and Lopes were represented by attorneys Rosemary Scappiccio and Christopher Belezos respectively.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.