A Superior Court judge refused to grant a new trial for a Boston man convicted of participating in a notorious double murder in the North End in 1986, ruling that the absence of the murder victims’ blood on the defendant’s sneakers does not prove his innocence.
Frank DiBenedetto’s sneakers had traces of blood on them when he was arrested by police shortly after the slayings. But he asserted that recent DNA testing has shown that the blood did not belong to either of the two men shot to death in Slye Park Feb. 19, 1986.
DiBenedetto argued that since Suffolk prosecutors had suggested to jurors that the blood evidence linked him to the execution-style murders, he should get a new trial.
Judge Robert A. Mulligan, now chief justice for administration and management, wrote in a 27-page ruling Monday that DiBenedetto’s claims do not warrant a new trial.
Mulligan presided at the 1994 trial at which DiBenedetto and a second man, Louis Costa, were both convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. They were found guilty of killing Frank Chiuchiolo, 20, and Joseph Bottari, 23, each of whom was shot several times in the head in what prosecutors have called drug-related killings.
In his ruling, Mulligan said he was drawing on that experience and, in particular, the testimony of the key government witness, lawyer Joseph Schindler, whose apartment overlooked the park and who identified DiBenedetto and Costa during numerous court proceedings in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mulligan noted that the sneakers were seized when DiBenedetto was arrested four days after the killings and that the four-day gap “provided the defendant more than ample time to discard or destroy possibly incriminating evidence.’’
Costa’s attorney, Paul F. Ware, is to appear before a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court Tuesday and ask that Mulligan be removed from ruling on a motion for a new trial filed by Ware that relies heavily on the DNA testing.