Two North Shore men were secretly indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury last week in connection with a shooting into a Peabody home with a high powered semi-automatic assault rifle in February over an unpaid debt, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.
Christopher Sherry, 40, of Beverly and Anthony Polsonetti, Jr., 52, of Gloucester were charged with assault with intent to murder, conspiracy to commit assault with intent to murder, and extortion.
Sherry was arrested on Thursday afternoon by Beverly and Peabody police, and arraigned Friday morning in Salem Superior Court. Sherry pleaded not guilty to his charges and was ordered held on $20,000 cash bail by Judge Timothy Feeley. Essex First Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley requested $250,000 cash bail.
The judge also set pre-trial probationary conditions, including no drugs or alcohol, random screens, and no contact or communication with the victim or witnesses in this case. Sherry will return to court on Sept. 27 for a pre-trial conference.
Polsonetti was also charged with trafficking a Class A substance (opium), trafficking a Class B substance (oxycodone), two counts of usury related to loan sharking and intent to procure another to commit perjury. In Salem Superior Court yesterday, Polsonetti pleaded not guilty to the charges and was held on $15,000 cash bail by Judge John Lu (the defendant posted that bail), according to the district attorney's office. He is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 14 for a pre-trial conference.Sherry allegedly confronted Michael Aresco at his 611 Lowell Street home on Feb. 15 after having allegedly been commissioned by Polsonetti to collect an unpaid debt. Aresco convinced Sherry, who had never seen the victim and didn’t know what he looked like, that he wasn’t the man Sherry was looking for.
But a short time later, after going to a neighboring home in search of Aresco, Sherry realized he’d been duped. At about 6 a.m. following morning, 14 shots were fired into Aresco’s residence from a semi-automatic weapon.
As the investigation progressed, a search of Polsonetti’s
Gloucester residence revealed evidence of drug trafficking, extortion and loan
sharking, officials said.