Quincy man arrested on gun charge tells police he got out of prison thanks to former state chemist Annie Dookhan
When Jamell T. Spurill was arrested by Boston police for illegal possession of a handgun on Sunday, he did not talk about the loaded Walther P99C handgun to arresting officers.
Instead, authorities said, he talked about his affection for Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist whose alleged mishandling of drug samples has affected thousands of prosecutions — including one against Spurill.
“I just got out thanks to Annie Dookhan,’’ Spurill allegedly told police. “I love that lady.”
Spurill apparently was referring to the cocaine dealing case in Plymouth County Superior Court that sent him to prison in 2011 for three years — after he pleaded guilty to three separate charges.
He was still behind bars last fall when attorneys sought his freedom on the grounds that Dookhan had so tainted the drug evidence in the case that Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz’s office could no longer prosecute him.
Cruz’s office formally dropped the case against Spurill in January, citing the interests of justice, according to court records. Spurill has been a free man since at least this winter, the records said.
But that ended around 9 a.m. Sunday when Boston police pulled over a vehicle near Circuit and Fountain streets after an officer noticed it had an expired inspection sticker, according to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office.
At the wheel was Shaki Muhammed, 27, of Norwood, who police soon learned had her right to drive suspended by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Spurill was a passenger.
Both were ordered out of the vehicle by police, who then proceeded to conduct a routine search, prosecutors said. During the search, officers allegedly found the handgun in the glove box of the car. The pistol, which had one round in the chamber and six in the magazine, had been reported stolen, prosecutors said.
Muhammed was charged with receiving stolen property over $250, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and driving without an inspection sticker, prosecutors said.
She faced enhanced sentencing as a Level II armed career criminal, prosecutors said. In 2006, she was convicted of distribution of a Class B substance and possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance, according to prosecutors.
When Muhammed was asked for her permit to carry a handgun, she allegedly replied, “What’s that?”
Spurill, 31, of Quincy faces charges of receiving stolen property over $250, unlawful possession of a firearm as a second or subsequent offense, and unlawful possession of ammunition as a second or subsequent offense.
He also faces enhanced sentencing as a Level III armed career criminal. According to prosecutors, Spurill was convicted of possession with intent to distribute drugs in 2010; unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition in 2008; assault and battery in 2003, 2005, and 2006; and assault in 2000.
Both Muhammed and Spurill were arraigned in Roxbury Municipal Court Monday where they pleaded not guilty to all charges. Bail was set at $50,000 cash for Spurill and $15,000 for Muhammed, prosecutors said.
Since the drug scandal exploded into public view last year, Suffolk County prosecutors have stayed sentences, or allowed a defendant to be released on bail, in 200 cases. Prosecutors said about 61 people in Suffolk County have been re-arrested since gaining freedom through the Dookhan scandal.John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.