Saturday, 2:15 PM
Jury acquits in Analicia Perry murder trial
By Brian R. Ballou and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
A Suffolk Superior Court jury acquitted a man of first-degree murder today in the slaying of a 20-year-old woman who was gunned down on the same spot in Roxbury where her brother was shot and killed exactly four years earlier.
The jury deliberated for three full days before acquitting Laron Richardson, 20, of fatally shooting Analicia Perry on July 22, 2006. Perry was kneeling at a makeshift shrine to light a candle for her slain sibling on Albert Street when she was killed.
Richardson let out a massive sigh when he heard the verdict this afternoon and said, "Whew." He smiled broadly at supporters in the gallery. He remains in custody without bail pending a hearing on outstanding drug possession charges Friday in Roxbury District. Two women in Perry's family shrieked when they heard the verdict and burst into tears.
“We’re disappointed in that we felt the evidence pointed clearly at the defendant as the individual responsible for the victim’s death beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. Richardson’s attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, left the courthouse without commenting.
Prosecutors have said that Perry's death was not related to the slaying of her brother, Robert, whose suspected killer was later found shot to death.
The case hinged on a telephone conversation Richardson allegedly had hours after the killing. Witnesses testified that they overheard him confess to the homicide. Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Cory Flashner told jurors in his closing argument that Perry had been heard admitting to the shooting, saying he "can't do 30 years" in prison, adding, "maybe I will just kill myself."
Shapiro told the jury a different story. Shapiro blamed the killing on Perry's former boyfriend, Steven J. Sayles. Perry's mother testified that Sayles had attacked her daughter during a violent argument while they dated.
On the night of the shooting, prosecutors alleged, Richardson was riding in the passenger seat of a car driven by Sayles. As Perry lit a memorial candle, a bullet fired from Sayles's car struck her in the head, prosecutors said. Ballistic evidence presented by the prosecution indicated that the gun had been fired from the passenger seat, where prosecutors said Richardson was sitting.
Hours later, Sayles, 21, tried to convince Perry's family that he did not shoot her, and arranged a telephone conversation, allegedly with Richardson, as three of Perry's relatives secretly listened in, prosecutors said.
Shapiro said that there was no forensic evidence that proved that Richardson was ever in Sayles's car. In his closing argument, Shapiro repeatedly pointed the finger at Sayles, saying that he concocted the telephone conversation as a way to steer blame away from himself.