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Sister of murdered Everett woman says killer took her ‘best friend’

A Chelsea man was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to the 2012 murder of 20-year-old Jessica Cormier, Middlesex prosecutors said Friday.

Clarence Earl Berry, 62, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Middlesex Superior Court Thursday, two years after he stabbed Cormier in the heart twice, killing her, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.

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Berry and Cormier, of Everett, were friendly, but prosecutors declined to comment on the specifics of their relationship.

Berry had been homeless, but was staying at a lodging house in Chelsea. Cormier had visited him there, according to residents of the shelter.

On Jan. 3, 2012, at about 6:30 p.m., Berry attacked the young woman outside her Pearl Street apartment, where she lived with her parents. Cormier’s mother heard her screaming, and found her on the floor in the foyer bleeding from stab wounds. She was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

During a search of Berry’s residence, officers found blood stains on clothing that matched both the victim and the defendant, prosecutors said.

In court Thursday, Cormier’s sister Nicole Thomas submitted a chilling impact statement.

“On the day Jessica was taken from us I lost the very best friend I ever had or will ever have,” she wrote in the statement. “My heart was ripped out and shattered into a million pieces as I heard my mother’s screams ... it is a scream I will never stop hearing and a pain and emptiness that I will never stop feeling.”

In the statement, Thomas relayed many things her sister would miss out on because her life was cut short.

“She couldn’t be the Maid-of-Honor at my wedding, she didn’t get to celebrate her 21st birthday,” she said. “She will never get married or become a mother.”

Ryan said in a statement that although Cormier’s family will also feel the pain of their loss, she hoped the verdict “provides them with some peace and comfort.”

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at Follow her on twitter @jacktemp.
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