A Suffolk Superior Court judge on Friday declined to grant a new trial to the man convicted in the killing of four men in a Dorchester basement in 2005, which prosecutors say will likely close the door on “one of the bloodiest crimes in Boston’s history.”
Judge Patrick Brady ruled in a 71-page decision that Calvin Carnes Jr.’s claims that newly discovered evidence could exonerate him were “without merit,” prosecutors said.
“Calvin Carnes got the fair trial that he denied the four young men when he murdered them in cold blood,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement.
Carnes, 27, was convicted in 2008 of murdering Jason Bachiller, 21, Jihad Chankhour, 21, Edwin Duncan, 19, and Christopher Vieira, 22, in Duncan’s makeshift basement recording studio on Bourneside Street in Dorchester, according to a spokesman for Conley.
Spokesman Jake Wark pointed out that Brady used the phrase “without merit” more than two dozen times to describe the motion by Carnes, who was “seeking a new trial in one of the bloodiest crimes in Boston’s history.”
Carnes killed the four men so he could steal a gun belonging legally to Vieira, prosecutors said.
His attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio, expressed her disappointment with the ruling Friday night.
“I completely disagree with the judge’s decision that my defendant got a fair trial because I don’t think that’s true,” Scapicchio said.
Brady ruled Carnes would not be granted further evidentiary hearings, prompting prosecutors to declare that the decision is the end of his appeals of the quadruple murder conviction. But Scapicchio said Carnes can still ask for a reconsideration in superior court, and appeal to the state Supreme Judicial Court, as well as federal court.
“We never got the opportunity to really address with the judge the issues of the newly discovered evidence,” she said.
The defense tried to argue that new evidence showed Carnes’s co-defendant Robert Turner was the actual shooter, and framed Carnes. Turner, who was convicted on lesser charges, killed himself in prison in 2011.
“I reject the theory now advanced by defendants that Turner shot the boys in the basement while Carnes was outside the basement smoking a ‘blunt’ and then set Carnes up as the shooter by persuading Maria Ortiz and Cynthia Small to testify that Carnes confessed,” Brady wrote.
Brady ruled that testimony from three convicts that Turner claimed to be the shooter was not credible.
The defense argued a letter in which Carnes admitted to the slaying was actually written by Turner. A handwriting expert said the letter was likely written by Turner, but Brady found the expert was also not credible.
“In reviewing the comparison letters, I see very little resemblance between the Turner letters to [Cynthia] Small and the letter in question from ‘Cal’ to Small,” Brady wrote.
Brady, citing precedent, also rejected defense arguments that the prosecution violated Carnes’s rights when it performed criminal background checks on jurors, and that new doubt raised on ballistic and fingerprint evidence would call the conviction into question.
Brady’s ruling is the just latest setback for Carnes. The Supreme Judicial Court upheld his conviction in 2010.Nicholas Jacques can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.