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Two Chelsea teens plead not guilty in slaying

Two teens have pleaded not guilty in a vicious attack in March that left a man dead on his porch in Chelsea, authorities said.

Erick Romero, 15, of Chelsea was arraigned Monday in Chelsea Juvenile Court, charged with manslaughter and assault with a dangerous weapon in the slaying of Elder Morales, 21, Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney, said in a statement. Romero was ordered held on $250,000 cash bail. He was indicted as a youthful offender, which means he could face adult penalties if convicted, Wark said.

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Elder Portillo, 18, of Chelsea, was arraigned July 16 in Suffolk Superior Court on a charges of second-degree murder and assault with a dangerous weapon. He is being held without bail, Wark said.

A third defendant, Jonathan Castro, 22, of Chelsea, is being held without bail after his arraignment on March 6 on charges including first-degree murder, armed assault with a dangerous weapon, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The slaying occurred on March 5 when Romero and Portillo allegedly ran up the front porch stairs of a home on Blossom Street in Chelsea. The two had knives and were attempting to attack Morales and another man, police said. Morales swung a chain at the two suspects in an effort to protect himself, Wark said.

Castro allegedly joined Romero and Portillo on the porch and fired a handgun multiple times at Morales and the other man, who ran from the scene, according to Wark.

Hanson can be reached at or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson
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