Word of the verdicts in the notorious quadruple slaying spread through the Mattapan neighborhood where the crime happened via phone calls and text messages, over porch banisters, and from the police, stationed at nearly every block along Woolson Street.
Children just home from school approached officers and a throng of reporters asking, “What happened?’’ They saw squad cars and news trucks and thought foul play had again lay siege to their neighborhood, as it did in 2010, when a toddler and three adults were slain.
Upon learning that a Suffolk Superior Court jury failed to reach a verdict on the murder charges against the alleged triggerman while acquitting the man accused of being the killer’s getaway driver, many residents said treachery was again afoot.
“A 2-year-old lost his life, and that man is going to walk,’’ Nakesia Andrews said outside her grandmother’s Sutton Street home. This neighborhood, her family said, had already been through too much, and now this.
“The day of revelation is here,’’ she said, her West Indian lilt strengthening with the emotion in her voice. “The Bible says the wicked man will walk and show his wicked way before us.’’
Boston police officers, ministers, and health workers walked up and down Woolson Street, where the slayings occurred, hoping their presence would allay fears, calm nerves, and prevent violence. But residents’ anger simmered from their porches, not in the street. The exception: a young man who police said was related to one of the victims. He stormed past a television cameraman, shoving the photographer before climbing into a sport utility vehicle.
“They should have let everybody who lived on this street be on the jury,’’ fumed Felicita Cruz, as her children played on the porch. “Who’s going to be the next baby killed and no justice?’’
Her neighbor Myriam Pierre was dismayed no one had been found guilty of the crime that “happened right over there,’’ she said, pointing to the area where the four victims were found naked and slain.
Relatives of two of the victims - Eyanna Flonory, 21, and her son, Amanihotep Smith, 2 - felt compelled to return to Woolson after the verdict, though they struggled to explain why.
Kesha Daughtry fought to keep tears at bay, as she stood in front of what used to be a memorial for the victims. She wore a memorial button adorned with her cousins’ smiling faces.
“I can’t believe they took it down,’’ she said, pointing to a white picket fence with a missing door. “I meant to come by and bring some balloons, but I didn’t . . . just to let folks know we’re still fighting.’’
Woolson is not a street she can traverse anymore. It hurts too much. Yet there she was, her children beside her.
“Edward Washington got away with killing my little cousins for absolutely nothing, but he will get justice one way or another,’’ she said, pointing to the sky. “I’m just going to pray. We’re still fighting.’’
Akeem Hodge, 23, another cousin, said standing in that spot brings back bad memories. He was headed home from work that day in 2010, when his mother called to confirm that their cousins were among the dead.
And today’s verdicts?
“It almost brought tears to my eyes that they are about to just walk away,’’ Hodge said. “And not just because it’s my family, but four bodies were thrown in the street. Somebody has to take the fall for this.’’
The lack of a conviction sets a bad precedent, he said.
“People are going to think they can get away with anything. This city is going to get out of control.’’
But a cadre of ministers, elected officials, civic leaders, and police brass stood on Woolson and vowed not to let that happen. Ministers sat on porches, talking to residents.
“Number one, they wanted to know seven days from now, 14 days from now: What happens? Who’s coming back and following up?’’ said the Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III.
In 2010, interjected Hugues Lafond, a religious leader at Temple Salem Seventh Day Adventist Church in Dorchester, “There was no follow up. People are still wondering.’’
Akilah Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.