[fragment number=0]A 65-year-old Roslindale man was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a Jamaica Plain convenience store clerk in 2009.
Edward Corliss, a convict who was on parole at the time of the shooting for a previous murder, robbed and then shot Surendra Dangol, 39, of Somerville at a Tedeschi’s convenience store on Centre Street on Dec. 26, 2009.
The cold-blooded killing of an innocent victim, which happened at about 3 p.m. on a major street in a bustling neighborhood, shocked the city. That shock was still evident on the face and in the words of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley following the guilty verdict in Suffolk Superior Court.
Standing behind Conley were trial prosecutors Patrick Haggan and Janis Noble and Boston police homicide detectives Sgt. Detective Michael F. Devane and Detectives Garrett G. Mitchell and Michael T. Walsh. Conley said police and prosecutors committed themselves to finding justice for Dangol when they learned about the shooting.
“What was he (Dangol) doing? Trying earn a living so he could send money back (to his family) and they could come join him in this great country of ours,’’ said Conley.
Instead, he said, Sangol’s life ended horrifically. “His very life oozed out on the floor,’’ Conley said, “thousands and thousands of miles from the people who loved him the most.’’
Still, he said, the arrest of Corliss came as a shock to Boston police homicide detectives and Suffolk prosecutors. Corliss had been sentenced to life in prison for the fatal shooting of a Salisbury store clerk in 1971, but was released in 2006. He was arrested three weeks after Dangol’s slaying. Prosecutors said Corliss had left the store with $748.
“Little did we know that the defendant convicted today was a career criminal, someone who had done virtually the exact same thing in the 1970s, someone that never should have been out of custody, but was out of custody,’’ Conley said. “He gunned down this innocent man who did everything we tell store clerks to do when confronted by armed men…and still Edward Corliss shot him at point blank range.’’
The verdict came just a few hours into the jury’s first full day of deliberations in the case. Corliss also was convicted of armed robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm.
“From an investigative point of view, in my 10 years as district attorney, I’m not sure I’ve seen a better investigation,’’ Conley said after the verdict. He said police tracked down the getaway vehicle and found the murder weapon in Revere Beach and that police and prosecutors “did all the necessary little things that got us to where we are.’’
The mandatory penalty for first-degree murder is life without the possibility of parole. The conviction will automatically be reviewed by the Supreme Judicial Court.
Dangol, an immigrant from Nepal, was described by his friends as a warm, quiet, gentle man, who was working to save money to have his family come to the United States. His wife and daughter did come – to attend his funeral.
The shooting was captured on the store’s surveillance camera. Prosecutors replayed extensive footage from the camera during the trial last week, saying that it showed Corliss committing the crime in an elaborate disguise.
But John Hayes, Corliss’s attorney, denied his client was the assailant shown in the video. Hayes left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
Judge Diane Kottmeyer scheduled sentencing for 2 p.m. Thursday so a translator could be found for Dangol’s family’s victim impact statements.
“What a horrible tragedy that occurred in that store that day,’’ Conley told reporters. “Hopefully, this time around, Edward Corliss will never get out of prison. This is a man who lacks any empathy for his fellow human beings. This is a man who should never have been let out. He must be institutionalized. He must remain that way for the rest of his natural life.’’