South Boston man held in slaying of neighbor
A South Boston man was arrested by Boston police yesterday and charged with beating his 65-year-old neighbor to death in her Andrew Square apartment in August, authorities said.
Adam J. Cassino, 25, pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder in South Boston Municipal Court. Judge Michael Bolden ordered him held without bail. Cassino is accused of killing Barbara Tagen inside her apartment at 385 Dorchester St.
Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Ian Polumbaum said in court that forensic evidence and eyewitness information links Cassino, whose family has lived at 382 Dorchester St., to the killing.
Polumbaum said that Tagen was last seen Aug. 23 and that Cassino was seen near Tagen’s building that day. Polumbaum said Tagen had accused Cassino of stealing from her in the past.
The prosecutor also said that Cassino told a witness that Tagen offered to sell him prescription pills around the time of her death, but that he did not have any money to pay for the drugs. He also said that another resident of Tagen’s building accused Cassino of a robbery attempt around the time Tagen was last seen. Tagen’s body was found Aug. 27.
Polumbaum said that on Aug. 24, Cassino’s family, who feared he was “out of control,’’ went to the same South Boston courthouse and obtained a court order involuntarily committing him to the substance-abuse treatment program at Bridgewater State Hospital.
Polumbaum said that when Cassino arrived at Bridgewater his clothes were seized as a matter of routine and, at that point, officials noticed what appeared to be blood on his shoes. Prosecutors said DNA testing confirmed it was blood and also confirmed that it was Tagen’s.
Polumbaum said that Boston police homicide detectives searched the location where Cassino was seen on Aug. 23 and seized an object that forensic testing has shown was used to beat Tagen. He did not explain what the object found was.
Tagen’s daughter and two other relatives attended the arraignment. They declined to comment, except to say that talking to reporters would not bring Tagen back.
John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.