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Man pleads not guilty in Back Bay crash that killed couple

The man accused of driving a sport utility vehicle through a red light and hitting a sedan before striking and killing a couple crossing Beacon Street in June pleaded not guilty to motor vehicle homicide charges Monday.

Mohamed Alfageeh, 30, of Allston, was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail. If released, Clerk Magistrate Connie S. Wong said, Alfageeh would have to turn over his passport.

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“This is a sad situation,” Wong said at the hearing in Suffolk Superior Court. “There are no winners here.”

Alfageeh’s arraignment came nearly two months after the crash, because detectives initially were unsure who was driving the vehicle that allegedly struck Jessica Campbell, 27, and her boyfriend, John Lanzillotti, 28, both of Brookline, as they strolled through Back Bay on June 21. Alfageeh’s wife, Ghuzlan Alghazali, was set to be arraigned days afterward, but prosecutors held off and the investigation continued.

Alfageeh appeared in court wearing a short sleeve button-down shirt and communicated through an Arabic translator as a prosecutor described the crash.

Campbell and Lanzillotti paused on the sidewalk at the intersection of Beacon and Fairfield streets shortly after 9 p.m., waiting for a signal to cross. When the light changed, they entered the crosswalk, walking toward Storrow Drive, the prosecutor said.

“Mr. Lanzillotti and Ms. Campbell were holding hands and they had the walk signal to cross,” Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Gregory Henning said.

A Volkswagen Passat entered the intersection from Fairfield street as Alfageeh’s SUV traveled down Beacon Street and “blew through the red light,” Henning said. After smashing the front of the Passat, the SUV fishtailed and swept across the crosswalk. The back end of the vehicle hit Campbell and Lanzillotti as it rolled onto its hood.

Witnesses told investigators they saw Alfageeh in the driver’s seat and Alghazali on the passenger’s side of the SUV, according to Henning.

A grand jury indicted Alfageeh Thursday.

John Seed, Alfageeh’s attorney, said he told his client about the indictment last week. On Monday, Seed said, Alfageeh reported for booking at 6:30 a.m., and he has shown “great respect” for police and the court system throughout the investigation.

“The gentleman has not left Boston since June when the incident happened,” Seed said.

Seed asked that Alfageeh be released on personal recognizance, noting that he has cooperated with the investigation and at one point sat down with homicide investigators for two hours.

“There’s no two ways about this — this is a tragic accident,” Seed said.

Lanzillotti was an Emmy-winning production manager for the Red Sox and Campbell was a retail analyst.

Alfageeh is part owner of a convenience store, according to his lawyer. He has a wife and four children, and he emigrated from Yemen to the United States in 2000 through New York, Seed said. Alfageeh is an American citizen, and his lawyer argued that he is not a flight risk.

“If he was going to leave, he had two months to do it,” Seed said.

Alfageeh’s family and friends sat on a bench in the second row of the clerk magistrate’s room during his arraignment. They declined to comment after the hearing.

In an interview, Seed offered few remarks about the initial confusion over who was driving the SUV that hit and killed Campbell and Lanzillotti.

“The charges are against him as the driver,” Seed said. “He’s been consistently cooperative throughout the entire time of this investigation.”

Seed added that “obviously some new evidence has been brought to light” but offered no specific details.

Alfageeh and Alghazali were heading home when the accident occurred, according to their lawyer.

“He’s a gentleman with no record. He’s not someone out there who’s a common criminal,” Seed said. “This is something that unfortunately could happen to anybody. Accidents happen all the time. This is just a tragic, tragic accident.”

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at zachary.sampson@
globe.com
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