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A SPECIAL SECTION: Haiti, Since the January 12, 2010 Fierce Earthquake

Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2010        

3 are arraigned in deliveryman's slaying
By Milton J. Valencia,
Globe Staff
They had a plan, a prosecutor said yesterday, and they carried it out with cold calculation. The three people charged with killing a pizza deliveryman in Hyde Park last week lured him to the vacant house, stabbed him repeatedly, and then took what little he had. They even grabbed the pepperoni pizza when they fled the scene, and ate all but three pieces, according to the prosecutor.
video The alleged murderers are arraigned
“It was never their intention that Richel Nova would leave that house any other way than in a body bag,’’ Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Hickman said during the arraignment of the three alleged killers at West Roxbury Municipal Court.

Michel St. Jean, 20, Alexander Gallett, 18, and Yamiley Mathurin, 17, appeared in court for the first time yesterday to answer to charges of murder, armed robbery, and breaking and entering in the killing Thursday of Nova, who was 58. Not guilty pleas were entered on their behalf, and they were ordered held without bail.

Flanked by their lawyers, the defendants said nothing in court as prosecutors released new details about the killing. The lawyers asked permission for their clients to stand behind a courtroom door during the arraignment, to shield their faces from the press, but Judge Kathleen Coffey denied their request. St. Jean wore a white jumpsuit, pulling up the hood in an effort to hide his face. Gallett and Mathurin looked forward with no expression as the charges were detailed.

At the other end of the courtroom, their blank stares were met by an emotional crowd of Nova’s family and friends, who held signs bearing his photo and calling for justice.

“He was a good man, a good father, and they have no idea what they did,’’ Jackie Peguero, a friend of Nova’s, said on the front steps of the courthouse moments after the court hearing. “They took the life of somebody.’’

Outlining the gruesome killing, Hickman said Mathurin had borrowed the phone of a woman on Hyde Park Avenue at about 11 p.m to have a Domino’s pepperoni pizza delivered to the vacant house next door. Hickman said the three suspects had apparently broken into the house, which had been vacant for more than two years.

Mathurin asked whether the driver would have enough change to break a large bill, but was told that he would have only $20 on him. She had the pizza delivered anyway, giving St. Jean’s cell number for confirmation, prosecutors said.

According to Hickman, Mathurin then waited outside the vacant house for the deliveryman. When Nova arrived, Hickman said, Mathurin had him follow her into a rear entrance on the second floor, saying she forgot her wallet upstairs. It was there that Gallett and St. Jean attacked Nova, prosecutors said.

They stabbed him in the chest and back, Hickman said — and while he was dying, they went through his pockets for money. Then, Hickman said, they slashed his throat, leaving him dead.

Prosecutors said the three suspects then drove off in Nova’s delivery car, his own 1995 Subaru Legacy. Mathurin carried the box of pizza. Police say they were directed to St. Jean because of the cellphone number. A second break in the case occurred when police found the car, at about 8:30 the next morning, in a church parking lot not far away in Hyde Park. It appeared that the occupants had tried to clean the inside of the car, but investigators still found evidence, prosecutors said: The bloodstained pizza box was found under a car parked next to the Legacy — with three slices of pizza still inside.

“Every new piece of evidence we uncover makes this crime more despicable,’’ Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said yesterday. “Taken together, they paint a picture of almost unbelievable malevolence.’’

Mao Mathurin, the uncle of Yamiley Mathurin, a student at Hyde Park High School, said yesterday that the family is trying to comprehend the allegations detailed by prosecutors.

“Nobody would want their kid to be [involved in] this type of thing,’’ he said. “I sincerely believe my niece is innocent in the stabbing. She was not able to do a thing like that.’’
 Boston lawyer Jeffrey T. Karp, who represents St. Jean, said that the allegations have stunned St. Jean’s relatives.

 “This is not something that is consistent with my guy’s background, history, or even demeanor,’’ said Karp. “He has his own life in front of him.’’

Karp added that St. Jean’s clothing had been seized by Boston police during the investigation and that authorities provided him with a white jumpsuit to wear in court. He had St. Jean pull the hood over his head.

“I simply just did not want to taint the investigation by having my client’s picture splashed across the newspapers so it could possibly lead to a misidentification’’ by prosecution witnesses, he said. “It’s unfortunate that authorities — whether it be law enforcement or whether it comes from the mayor’s office — are demonizing my client in the press and portraying him as some gangster, thug, hitman, or terrorist. That just isn’t the case.’’

Peter Krupp, who is representing Gallett, declined to comment yesterday. Gallett is Mathurin’s boyfriend and a student at West Roxbury High School.

After the hearing yesterday, dozens of Nova’s friends and family members stood on the front steps of the courthouse, before news cameras, in a show of unity for the father of three, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who worked two jobs to support his children’s college education.

“We want justice,’’ said Aavim Sanchez, 40, a cousin. “We need to do something. If we don’t, it will happen again.’’

Nova, who came to the United States about 11 years ago, one friend said, was a baseball fan who also enjoyed “telenovelas,’’ Spanish-language soap operas. He has a son, 22-year-old Irving Lara, and twin 20-year-old daughters, Michelle and Marlene Romero. They graduated from Boston Latin School in 2008 and are juniors in college.

Nova was working two jobs to support his children, family members said. He had told friends of his fears heading into strange houses at night.

“I said, ‘Leave that job,’ but the thing he wanted to do was work,’’ Pablo Guerrero, who grew up with Nova in the Dominican Republic, said yesterday. “I have no idea why they would do that to a good person.’’

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Milton Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com.

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company. Published Wednesday, September 8, 2010.
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