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Fugitive wanted in connection with 1990 fatal Lowell shooting arrested in Dominican Republic

A fugitive wanted for allegedly fatally shooting a teenager between the eyes in Lowell nearly 30 years ago has been caught in the Dominican Republic, according to the FBI.

Jose Armanda Betances, 58, is wanted for the murder of Andrew Alexander on May 12, 1990, and special agents from the FBI Boston Division’s violent crime task force, along with a Lowell police officer, escorted Betances from the Dominican Republic to Logan International Airport on Friday, officials said. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Woburn Superior Court on Monday. Betances is expected to be held in the custody of Lowell police until then.

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The Globe reported in 1990 that Betances, who was then 28 and living in Lawrence, shot Alexander outside Alexander’s apartment in the North Common housing complex. The 17-year-old Alexander was shot after he threw a rock through the window of a car in which his former girlfriend was riding, police told the Globe. Betances, who was allegedly driving the car, stopped, pulled out a .32 caliber revolver, and shot Alexander between the eyes, officials have said.

The day after the shooting, an arrest warrant was issued for Betances, who is also known as Jose Almando Betances Urena. A Middlesex County grand jury returned an indictment charging Betances with murder in June of 1990, according to authorities. That August, a federal arrest warrant was issued by the federal court in Boston on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, which holds a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Officials found Betances in the Dominican Republic in January 2017. US authorities prepared an extradition package that included an application for a provisional arrest warrant and presented it to Dominican officials, according to the FBI.

In July of last year, the FBI was told the Dominican Republic Supreme Court issued a warrant for Betances’s arrest. On Nov. 12, he was arrested outside his home and has been held in custody pending extradition back to Massachusetts.

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“Mr. Betances’ life on the run for almost 30 years has ended with him in handcuffs, and we can only hope this arrest brings some level of closure to Mr. Alexander’s family,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, in a statement.

Bonavolonta added, “Violent offenders like him need to understand that no matter where they hide, or for how long they run, our investigators will track them down and bring them to justice.”

Lowell Police Superintendent Raymond Kelly Richardson referred to the shooting as a “heinous crime [that] was committed in broad day light in front of many witnesses, many of whom were children.”

“I hope this sends a clear message that the Lowell Police Department has strong partnerships with many law enforcement agencies,” said Richardson.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, whose office will prosecute Betances, said in a Friday statement that “It is our hope, which is shared by the victim’s family, that this case will now be able to move forward.”



Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.