14-year-old boy arraigned in fatal Dorchester stabbing; victim killed during robbery, police say

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Defense attorney Janice Bassil spoke to reporters after the arraignment of 14-year-old Ernest Watkins IV in an Oct. 6 homicide. (Brian Ballou/Globe Staff)

A 14-year-old boy was ordered held without bail after his arraignment today in Dorchester District Court in the Oct. 6 stabbing death of a 39-year-old man on a Dorchester sidewalk.

Ernest Watkins’s mug shot

Ernest Watkins IV is being charged as an adult in the death of Cherby LaJoie, who was found fatally stabbed across the street from the Fields Corner MBTA station.

Watkins remained out of view during the arraignment. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

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Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said the 14-year-old boy and several other teens attacked the victim during a robbery attempt.

“The attack went down as a robbery and the victim was stabbed when he resisted,” said Davis in a telephone interview.

Davis praised Boston police detectives and Transit Police, saying surveillance tapes proved “very helpful” in the investigation and arrest of Watkins.

Transit Police also tracked down information on a Charlie Card user seen entering the Fields Corner station along with Watkins. When confronted by police with the Charlie Card information, the T passenger identified Watkins for investigators, authorities said.

Davis said the suspect was identified through the video with cooperation from the community. Davis said investigators are looking for several other male suspects in the attack.

During Watkins’s arraignment, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Mark Hallal said that five males attacked LaJoie, with one stabbing him. LaJoie suffered 37 stab wounds.

They also said a key found by investigators near LaJoie’s foot opened the door at Watkins’s house.

Prosecutors said that surveillance video showed a suspect in a distinctive green-and-white shirt. When Watkins was arrested, he was wearing a shirt that matched that description.

But Watkins’s defense attorney, Janice Bassil, said Watkins had never been arrested. She asked that Watkins be released with a GPS monitoring bracelet. Watkins’s parents and other relatives were in the courtroom, as well as a teacher from his school.

The judge, refusing to release Watkins, slated a probable cause hearing for Nov. 13.

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