A Boston police officer was so intent on being branded a hero that he lied about what he saw the day that 14-year-old Nicholas Fomby-Davis was pulled off a scooter and shot to death, an attorney for a Dorchester man accused in the killing said in a closing statement Wednesday.
But a Suffolk County prosecutor told a jury that the two defendants, Joshua Fernandes, 18, and Crisostomo Lopes, 22, “acted as a killing team.”
The jury in the first-degree murder case could begin deliberating Thursday. Fernandes and Lopes, who have pleaded not guilty to the charges, face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
During the two-week trial, eyewitnesses testified that they saw two men pull a boy off his scooter and shoot him at close range May 30, 2010, near Bowdoin and Olney streets in Dorchester.
Prosecutors say that Lopes held Fomby-Davis at arm’s length while Fernandes fired four shots at the Dearborn Middle School student, striking him twice, in the chest and leg.
The case sent a wave of fear and mourning across the community and touched off several antiviolence demonstrations.
Rosemary Scapicchio, Fernandes’ attorney, was first to give closing statements Wednesday.
“The best they have done for you is ‘believe us because we said so,’” she told the jurors, referring to prosecutors.
She repeated that phrase during her 30-minute statement. She disputed several key witnesses, most notably a Boston police officer who told jurors last week that he witnessed the shooting.
Scapicchio said that off-duty officer Anthony Williams was 11 cars away from the shooting, and not in a position to clearly see what he said he had seen.
“Officer Williams is lying, plain and simple,” she said. “He has what we refer to as ‘hero syndrome.’ ”
Scapicchio argued that there were no other witnesses who corroborate his account, including a civilian who also told jurors that he saw the shooting. Scapicchio said that those witness accounts differed enough to inject reasonable doubt. She added that video surveillance footage showed other people running from the area of the shooting.
“Eyewitness error and misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions,” she said, adding that investigators did nothing to rule out her client. She said that there was no DNA or fingerprints linking him to the crime.
During the trial, 28 witnesses were called, and almost 200 exhibits were entered as evidence.
Christopher Belezos, attorney for Lopes, said in his statement that his client’s behavior on the night of the slaying is consistent with innocence.
“A guilty man takes off right away. . . . He stands there thinking, ‘What did I just see?’ ”
Prosecutor Patrick Haggan started his closing statement by playing a police recording at the scene where Fomby-Davis fell after being shot.
In the recording, full of chatter and police sirens, an unidentified voice yells, “Oh, my God.” Police officers tell the crowd, “Back up!”
“The hard stained, dirty concrete of a city sidewalk where a 14-year-old boy drew his last breath,” Haggan said.
“He pulled the trigger four times,” Haggan added. “This is a photograph of an ambush, of an execution.”
Fomby-Davis had terror in his eyes as he saw his saw his killers approach, Haggan said.
“The victim, his heart struck by a bullet, got up from the pavement and stumbled across the street as his two cowardly killers ran away and pedaled away,” the prosecutor said.
As he spoke, Trina Davis, the victim’s mother, flinched and then collapsed forward in her lap.
Fomby-Davis collapsed inside a store, but the shop keeper picked him up and dropped him on the sidewalk outside, according to witnesses.
“Excruciating, painful, horrible last moments of Nicholas Fomby-Davis . . . two blocks from home,” the victim’s brother there by his side and a police officer yelling, “Stay with us,” Haggan said.
“That is murder in the first degree by extreme atrocity and cruelty.”Brian Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.