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Four defendants plead guilty in shooting of Woburn police officer

Posted by Your Town  May 6, 2013 04:39 PM

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The following is a press release from the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan

WOBURN – Four defendants pleaded guilty today for charges stemming from the September 6, 2011 violent masked armed robbery and shooting that severely injured an on-duty Woburn Police officer, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan informed the public today.

Antonio Matos, 27, of Boston; Hector Baez-Cruz, 23, of Boston; Erianiss Murillo, 18, of Dorchester; and Allegra Martinez, 19, of Providence, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to charges of masked armed robbery (three counts), armed assault with intent to murder (11 counts), mayhem (two counts), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (two counts), assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a public employee, larceny over $250, possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, possession of a loaded firearm, possession of a firearm while committing a felony (three counts), discharge of a firearm (two counts), and malicious destruction of property (four counts), and conspiracy to commit masked armed robbery. Murillo and Martinez also pleaded guilty to misleading a police investigation and being an accessory after the fact to masked armed robbery (four counts)

Judge Jane Haggerty sentenced the defendants to the following: Matos was sentenced to no less than 25 years to no more than 30 years in state prison with 10 years probation from and after his prison sentence. Baez-Cruz was sentenced to no less than 20 years to no more than 25 years in state prison and 10 years probation from an after his prison sentence. Martinez and Murillo were sentenced to not less than seven and no more than eight years in state prison and five years probation from and after their prison sentence. As a condition of probation all four defendants were ordered to have no contact with any victims or witnesses and pay restitution for medical expenses and lost wages for the two officers involved in the shooting.

“There is no question that the actions of defendants, which began in a jewelry store and continued in a busy parking lot on a well-traveled street and in a residential neighborhood, terrorized nine citizens, including three children, and put the lives of many, including two police officers, in danger,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Given the nature of this brazen attack and violent gunfight, it is stunning that no lives were lost. I commend the work of the Woburn Police Department for their heroic efforts to protect the public that day. I applaud the continued efforts of police and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office to hold these defendants accountable for this attack.”

According to authorities, on September 6, 2011 at approximately 11:06 am, Woburn Police and Massachusetts State Police received several 911 calls reporting a robbery at 186 Cambridge Road in Woburn. Upon responding to the call, Officer Robert DeNapoli, 51, a 16-year veteran of the Woburn Police Department, was shot by one of the suspects. Officer DeNapoli was transported to Lahey Clinic where he was treated for serious injuries.

Additional police officers from Woburn Police responded to the scene, as well as troopers from the Massachusetts State Police, State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, and a number of area law enforcement agencies, including the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council.

After a thorough investigation, it was determined that Matos, Baez-Cruz, Martinez, and Murillo planned and carried out the armed masked robbery at Musto Jewelers. The investigation revealed that Murillo appeared outside the jewelry store and was buzzed in by staff. When the door opened, she stepped aside, and Matos and Baez-Cruz stormed in brandishing handguns. The staff and customers, including a child, were ordered to get on the floor and turn over their cell phones.

The defendants ordered a store employee to fill a bag with trays of jewelry from the display cases. They then forced an employee to open the cash register. They then ordered the hostages to remain in the ground and count to sixty as they fled. Clutching approximately $150,000 worth of jewelry, the defendants fled down a back stairwell. In the parking lot they encountered Woburn Police Officer DeNapoli, who was the first responder to the scene. Unbeknownst to the defendants and hostages, a witness had seen the defendants enter the store, exited the rear of the store and found someone to call 911.

As Officer DeNapoli was stepping from his cruiser, the three accomplices later identified as Baez-Cruz, Martinez, and Murillo, fled the scene in a get-away car. Matos shot at Officer DeNapoli several times, causing serious injuries. As additional officers responded, Matos fled down a side street. While under fire, Woburn Police Officer Mark Gibbon gave chase on foot. Matos continued to fire at Officer Gibbons, and the officer returned fire. Other officers arrived and Matos was subdued, handcuffed and transported to Lahey Clinic for medical treatment.

Authorities immediately attempted to identify Matos’ accomplices and an investigation ensued during which Martinez and Murillo provided police false and misleading information.

Baez-Cruz was arrested September 15, 2011 by Woburn Police Department and Massachusetts State Police with assistance from Boston Police Department and Boston Housing Police after forensic evidence linked him to the crime scene. He was arraigned on September 16 in Woburn District Court on charges of armed robbery and armed assault with intent to murder. Woburn District Court Judge Tobin Harvey ordered Baez-Cruz held on $5 million surety or $500,000 cash bail with the conditions that if he posted bail, he was to have no direct or indirect contact with any witnesses, he must turn over his passport, and was ordered to stay out of Woburn.

Martinez and Murillo were arrested and arraigned November 23 in Woburn District Court on charges of masked armed robbery (2 counts), possession of a firearm, and assault with the intent to murder (2 counts). Woburn District Court Judge James Barretto ordered the defendants held on $250,000 cash bail or $2.5 million dollar surety.

The case was prosecuted by District Attorney Marian Ryan and Assistant District Attorneys David Solet and John Mulcahy. The Victim Witness Advocate was Anne Foley. The case was investigated by Woburn Police and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

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