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Father, son accused in Vietnam veteran’s death

A father and son were charged Friday in the death of Vincent Lalli, a Vietnam veteran whose battered body was found in January behind a Norwood middle school.

Anthony Canejo Sr., 52, was charged with armed assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the Middlesex district attorney’s office said. His son, Anthony Canejo Jr., 30, was charged as an accessory to the crime.

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Canejo Sr. was not charged with murder because an autopsy has yet to determine Lalli’s cause of death, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said.

The two men lived with Lalli, 66, in a Somerville apartment, Ryan’s office said.

Canejo Sr. allegedly strangled Lalli and beat him with a crowbar in the Sycamore Street residence, prosecutors said. He and his son are accused of then dumping Lalli’s body in Norwood.

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Authorities said Lalli suffered “significant trauma.”

The elder Canejo was arrested Thursday in Quincy, and the son was arrested Friday morning in Watertown, Ryan’s office said.

Both men pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Friday
in Somerville District Court. Canejo Sr. was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing, which is scheduled for Feb. 21.

Judge Antoinette Leoney set the younger defendant’s bail at $250,000, but he was ordered held for a probation violation, the district attorney’s office said.

A dog walker found Lalli’s body behind the Dr. Philip O. Coakley Middle School on Jan. 29, authorities said. Lalli had been reported missing about a week earlier, the Norfolk district attorney’s office said at the time.

Prosecutors said the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is performing an autopsy on Lalli’s body to determine the cause of death.

Lalli served in the US Navy from 1967 to 1971, said a spokesman for the state’s Department of Veterans’ Services.

He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal with one star and was discharged honorably, the spokesman said.

State Police and the district attorney’s office are investigating the case.

Nicholas Jacques can be reached at nicholas.jacques @globe.com.
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