Kyle Bryant, who was acquitted of the horrifying murder a decade ago of a pregnant teenage girl who was buried alive in Boston, was arrested in Brockton today and charged with murdering a man outside a restaurant there earlier this month.
Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz and Brockton Police Chief William Conlon announced Bryant’s arrest this afternoon in connection with the death of 25-year-old Darnell Harrison, of Brockton, who was shot Jan. 5 outside the Lithuanian Café and Family Pizza restaurant on Ames Street in the Lithuanian Village section of the city.
A second victim, Shawn Cox, 32, of Brockton, was shot in the leg and survived. Bryant is also charged in his shooting.
Bryant, 28, faces charges of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Cruz called the shooting of the two men “egregious” and “heinous.”
“The shooter in this case is a very dangerous person. I’m glad he’s off the street,” Cruz said in a phone interview. “Brockton is safer without him on the street.” A spokeswoman for his office would not comment on a motive for the Jan. 5 shootings.
Bryant was acquitted in 2004 in the grisly death of 14-year-old Chauntae Jones, who was eight months pregnant, presumably with his child.
In a taped confession to police, Bryant said he watched as a childhood friend, Lord Hampton, lured the eighth-grade girl to a shallow grave on the night of Sept. 28, 1999, stabbed her and bludgeoned her with a rock and a brick before burying her alive. Bryant led police to the grave weeks later. Prosecutors said Bryant conspired to kill the teen to cover up a potential statutory rape investigation.
Though Bryant wasn’t accused of being the killer, he was charged in the killings of Jones and her unborn baby under case law, which says that participants in a joint criminal venture are equally culpable, even if only one did the killing.
Hampton was found guilty of two counts of murder later in 2004 and is serving two consecutive life sentences in MCI-Cedar Junction in Walpole. Hampton confessed to the killings after a lengthy interrogation by police, but in his trial testified that Bryant killed Jones.
“Lord has always maintained that he’s innocent and that Kyle Bryant was the mastermind behind the murder of Chauntae Jones,” said Randolph Gioia, the defense attorney who represented Hampton at trial, in a phone interview this afternoon.
In news accounts of the two trials, Hampton was described as a follower with limited intelligence, who lacked an adult role model and looked up to Bryant.
His appellate attorney, Chauncey Wood, has an appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court and is seeking a new trial for Hampton, Gioia said.
Defense lawyer John Salsberg, who represented Bryant in 2004, declined in a brief phone interview to comment on the new charges and would not say if he was still representing Bryant.
In 2004, a prosecutor in Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley’s office told the Globe he was “baffled and pained” by Bryant’s acquittal.
Conley would not comment today on either the new charges or the old case, which took place during a rough stretch in his tenure. Three murder trials and one attempted murder trial that went to juries over a six-month period in 2004 resulted in acquittals.
If convicted of the new charges in the Brockton case, Bryant faces a possible life sentence.
Brockton has had four homicides in the first month of 2010, with arrests made in two of them including Bryant’s today.
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