Edwin J. Alemany allegedly committed “blitz-like” attacks on four women in Boston, including a September 2012 attack on a Mission Hill woman that was not thoroughly investigated by Boston police — and the kidnapping and murder of Amy Lord in South Boston some nine months later, authorities said today.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley outlined the host of charges Alemany now faces for what the prosecutor called a “violent spree’’ that also included attacks on two other women in South Boston, one shortly before Lord’s July 23 murder and one 18 hours after.
“The attacks were all blitz-like physical assaults where the victims were immediately overwhelmed with violence,’’ Conley said, adding that all the victims were women between the ages of 20 and 24 who were attacked while walking alone late at night or in the early morning.
Alemany had previously been charged in district court with Lord’s murder and the attacks directly before and after Lord’s slaying. He pleaded not guilty and is undergoing mental evaluation in Bridgewater State Hospital.
Conley announced at the news conference that a grand jury had handed up a consolidated indictment charging Alemany with all four attacks. The indictment will move the case to Superior Court.
Conley said it was a “challenging case but a compelling one.” Alemany allegedly kidnapped Lord, beat her, forced her to drive her car to ATMs to withdraw money, and then murdered her in the Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park. Alemany then drove Lord’s Jeep back to South Boston where he set it afire in an effort to eradicate forensic evidence, Conley said.
“There is an unmistakable clarity of mind in his actions, especially on the morning of July 23,’’ Conley said. “The homicide of Amy Lord was savage and brutal. The level of violence visited on her shocked the entire city of Boston, including hardened police and prosecutors with decades of experience.’’
Jeffrey Denner, Alemany’s defense attorney, said he had not yet decided whether he would mount an insanity defense. But he disputed Conley’s assertion that Alemany acted with a clear mind during the wave of attacks this July.
“The observations I have made of Mr. Alemany don’t lead me to that same conclusion,” Denner said. “I think this has been an incredibly sick young man for a long period of time.”
Alemany, by the time he was 18, already had a long history of serious mental health issues. In the years that followed, he repeatedly came into contact with the criminal justice justice system, largely for relatively minor crimes like theft and trespassing, but also for acting erratically or threatening to kill himself or others, the Globe has reported.
Lord, a young digital marketer, had come to the city after growing up the eldest of three daughters in Wilbraham, a town of about 15,000 nearly two hours west of Boston.
Once police identified Alemany as a suspect in Lord’s killing, investigators discovered that police may have had a chance to arrest him in September 2012 when he allegedly attacked a woman from behind as she was walking in Mission Hill.
The woman fought back, dislodged a wallet with Alemany’s ID card in it and also knocked off a baseball cap. But Alemany was never questioned by Boston police detectives, and then-Boston police commissioner Edward Davis disciplined four detectives — the lead investigator and three supervisors.
Conley said today that DNA evidence found on the baseball cap was “strongly consistent” with Alemany’s DNA, which strengthened the connection already established by the ID card and led to Alemany being charged in the attack.
Acting Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said “proper discipline” was meted out for the mishandling of the 2012 case and “new practices” have been established.
“We’re putting additional management practices into effect so nothing like this happens again,” he said.
Alemany is also charged with attacking a woman on July 23 around 5 a.m. as she walked on Old Colony Avenue in South Boston, Conley said. He alleged that Alemany struck her in the face and knocked her to the ground.
Alemany then “dragged her by the legs into a parking lot off of Old Colony Avenue. As he did so, he allegedly told her he wasn’t going to rob her, he was going to kill her,’’ Conley said. Alemany eventually fled on foot without further harming the woman.
After that attack, Alemany allegedly kidnapped and killed Lord. But that did not mark the end of his rampage.
Shortly after midnight on July 24, he attacked a third woman in South Boston on Gates Street, Conley said. Alemany rushed the woman on her stairwell and began stabbing her without provocation, Conley said. Screams from the woman alerted neighbors, who called 911, he said.
The woman was rushed to Tufts Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries to her torso, face, and neck.
Next came a crucial break for the police.
At the same time as the victim was getting care, Alemany showed up in the hospital emergency room bleeding from a serious wound on his left hand caused when he stabbed the woman, Conley said.
The woman had given a description of her attacker. Paramedics realized Alemany matched the woman’s description and police arrested him.
Conley today described Alemany as a “petty thief’’ whose criminal history was never marked by the level of violence he allegedly engaged in starting in 2012. “We may never know what sparked that change in his behavior,’’ Conley said.
Conley said his office notified Lord’s family today about the indictments and renewed officials’ promise to her family that Alemany will be held accountable for her death.