BOSTON, May 14, 2014—A Dorchester teen convicted as a youthful offender in the shootings of two men during a botched robbery was sentenced to state prison today, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
A Suffolk Superior Court jury in March convicted JOHN GRAHAM (D.O.B. 12/15/94) as a youthful offender on two counts of armed assault with intent to rob and single counts of armed assault with intent to murder, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and firearm offenses for shooting two men on Oct. 30, 2011, but acquitted him of first-degree murder and armed assault with intent to rob in the fatal shooting of 36-year-old Ciaran Conneely three weeks prior to the non-fatal shooting.
Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum of the DA’s Homicide Unit recommended a prison sentence of six to 10 years followed by five years of probation. Judge Linda Giles imposed a sentence of five to six years and three years of probation. She imposed probation conditions requested by Polumbaum, including orders that Graham abide by a curfew and wear a GPS monitor during his first year of probation, that he seek and maintain employment, obtain a GED, and stay away and have no contact with the victims. Giles also ordered Graham to undergo a mental health evaluation and any counseling deemed necessary.
Giles noted that the defendant, who was 16 at the time of the homicide and subsequent double shooting, had “essentially no record at all” prior to those incidents and was living in a “toxic environment” away from any responsible adults. Under Massachusetts law, he was automatically charged as an adult on the murder but was indicted as a youthful offender on the other charges.
Evidence and testimony presented during the trial proved that Graham, armed with a firearm, approached the then 18- and 20-year-old victims on Monsignor Lydon Way and demanded cash. When the men refused to comply and even mocked him, Graham shot them and fled without taking their money. One victim was struck from behind by four bullets; the second victim was shot once in the arm.
Conneely, an Irish immigrant, was found dead on Nahant Avenue on Dec. 10, 2011, felled by a fatal gunshot wound. Ballistic testing showed that he had been killed with the same weapon used in the Lydon Way shootings, and as with that case his assailant fled without taking his money. Trial testimony suggested that Graham admitted to shooting the man after an encounter in which he “couldn’t understand” the victim. Prosecutors argued that these statements, coupled with the ballistic evidence and the impulsive nature of the shootings, tied Graham to both cases.
Katherine Moran was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Graham was represented by Robert Sheketoff.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.