Thursday, 4:30 PM
Jury finds two men guilty of murder in 2001 Mission Hill double homicide
By Shawntaye Hopkins and Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondents
A jury this afternoon found two men guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in the 2001 slaying of two college roommates who police say were fatally shot during a late morning robbery.
The 12-member jury deliberated for almost four days before finding Nathan Rivera and Terrance Brown, both 25, guilty in the killing of 20-year-old roommates Roland Chow and Karen Young after a break-in at their Mission Hill apartment on Aug. 10, 2001.
The jurors also convicted Rivera and Brown of armed assault with intent to murder, armed home invasion and unlawful firearms possession. The jury found the two defendants not guilty of armed robbery.
After the ruling, a woman began to scream, “My son is innocent! My son is innocent!” Bailiffs had to physically remove her from the courtroom.
During the two-week trial, Assistant District Attorney Dennis Collins alleged that Rivera and Brown donned dust masks and burst into the two-bedroom apartment that morning to steal drugs or money. Boston police Detective Robert Kenney testified that investigators found $14,000 in cash and ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamines and PCP in Chow’s duffel bag and other places in the apartment.
A third roommate, Wei Li, escaped the shooting unharmed. Police speculated that the gunmen may have run out of ammunition.
Li, 27, testified that he lay face down on an air mattress with his hands and legs bound with duct tape, listening as Chow was shot in the back of the head. Li told the jury that he then saw someone point a gun at him, but he heard a clicking noise when they pulled the trigger that sounded as if they had run out of bullets.
The assailants fled, and although Li said he heard the shots, he could not identify Rivera or Brown in court. Li did, however, testify that he heard the last the last words of his other roommate, Northeastern University student Karen Young, who seemed to recognize one of her killers.
"She said: `Nathan, is that you?’” Li told the jury. “‘Why are you doing this? We grew up together.’”
Rivera and Brown, both of Dorchester, pleaded not guilty after their arrest in 2001. They are scheduled to appear in court again Aug. 1 for sentencing.