A former busboy with a long history of violence, identified as “a person of interest” in the fatal stabbing of 24-year-old Amy E. Lord of South Boston, was deemed unfit to be arraigned Thursday in assaults on two other women in the same day.
Edwin Alemany, 28, was found by a psychiatrist crouched under a courthouse bench, threatening to kill himself. He had pulled out stitches from his hand, which police said he cut while he was stabbing a woman late Tuesday night on Gates Street in South Boston. The woman survived the assault.
“It is my opinion that he is overcome by emotions right now and is suicidal,” Dr. Stephen Porter said after trying to speak to Alemany at South Boston District Court for an evaluation.
Boston police Superintendent William Evans declined to identify Alemany as a suspect in Lord’s death and said police are still urging residents to be on their guard. But he said there is no reason to suspect there are two people involved in Lord’s killing.
“We have a suspect in custody for two assaults,” Evans said. “Whether he is tied into a third or not we can’t say at this time. We have to let people know in the community to take precautions, because we’re not certain that this fellow is tied into it at all.”
In South Boston, fear remained pervasive. At gyms, women asked for self-defense classes, and men volunteered to walk them home. Police said they had added extra patrols, planned to hand out whistles to women Friday afternoon, and announced that they would host self-defense classes.
A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation described Alemany as a person of interest in the killing of Lord. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case remains under investigation, said that the person who killed Lord acted alone.
Lord’s assailant grabbed her as she was coming out of her Dorchester Street apartment early Tuesday morning, then forced her back into the vestibule of the building, where he beat her viciously, the official said.
Two other officials briefed on the investigation said investigators had recovered DNA and fingerprint evidence and are awaiting the test results. The officials did not say where the DNA evidence was found, but they said that investigators are hopeful a fingerprint was lifted from a hallway of the apartment building where Lord was first attacked.
The assailant dragged Lord out of the building and forced her into her Jeep, driving her to five ATM locations in South Boston and Dorchester to withdraw money. The assailant then took her to Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park and stabbed her to death.
Alemany is accused of punching one woman on Old Colony Avenue at 5 a.m. Tuesday, an hour before bank records show Lord first used her ATM card. Alemany allegedly stabbed another woman just after midnight Wednesday as she walked down Gates Street, police said.
That woman later recognized Alemany as her attacker when they were at the same hospital being treated for their wounds, two officials with knowledge of the case have said.
Alemany was expected to appear in court Thursday to face charges of assault and assault with intent to murder in those two attacks, but Judge Tracy-Lee Lyons agreed with his defense attorney that he needed further evaluation.
Porter, the doctor, said he asked Alemany several questions, but for a long stretch of time was met only with silence. Finally, Alemany spoke.
“He was barely audible,” said Porter. “He mentioned that he felt like dying . . . that he wanted to kill himself.”
Alemany’s lawyer, James Greenberg, said his client has been too distraught to speak and was in no state of mind to be arraigned. He said his client does not even understand the charges against him.
Assistant District Attorney Nicole Rimar tried to convince Lyons that Alemany could still be arraigned.
But Lyons said the doctor’s testimony persuaded her to order a 20-day evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital to determine whether he is competent to help in his defense.
Alemany did not enter the courtroom during the proceeding, but was later seen exiting the courthouse wearing a hospital gown, blue hospital pants, and booties, hands cuffed in front of him with his left hand in bandages. He was surrounded by court officers.
No one answered the door at an address listed for his parents in Mattapan. His most recent address, according to court records, was in South Boston.
Alemany had tried to hurt himself before, according to court documents. In 2003, Alemany was arrested and charged with assault with intent to murder after he attacked a pizza shop owner who was coming out of his restaurant. Alemany was in the middle of Washington Street in West Roxbury late one night in June that year , yelling and punching a traffic sign, when the victim drove up in his pickup truck, according to court documents.
Alemany threw a rock at the man’s truck, and when the owner got out to confront him, Alemany stabbed him, according to the report. The man survived.
As he was being booked at the West Roxbury district station in that case, police said he began striking his head and face against a plexiglass window, punched the wall with his right hand, and threatened to kill himself. He pleaded guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and served six months in the House of Correction.
Alemany’s criminal record goes back to 1999, when he was about 14 and was placed in the state’s custody for assault charges. He has been in and out of jail, largely on charges such as assault and battery and receiving stolen property.
In 2010, he was sentenced to two years in the House of Correction after he pleaded guilty to motor vehicle theft, possession of burglary tools, and destruction of property.
He was released in March 2012 when he completed his sentence, according to state records.
As a Boston police cruiser sat parked outside of Lord’s Dorchester Street apartment building Thursday afternoon, a bouquet of white flowers lay beneath the young Bentley University graduate’s mailbox, which was stuffed with unopened mail.