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Evidence at slaying scene is linked to Revere man

Two bloody fingerprints found in an East Boston home where a 50-year-old man was slain Friday were matched to Cristian Santa, a 20-year-old Revere man with no criminal history, prosecutors said Monday at Santa’s arraignment on murder charges.

A calm and boyish-looking Santa appeared in East Boston Municipal Court, where he pleaded not guilty to a single charge of first-degree murder and was ordered held without bail by Judge Robert Ronquillo Jr.

In court, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Ursula Knight said Santa and the victim, John Barrientos, had spent much of Thursday night and into the early morning Friday drinking in Barrientos’s basement apartment on Chelsea Street.


Residents later told police that they heard screams and thudding noises around 5 a.m. coming from Barrientos’s unit at 220 Chelsea St., Knight said. Around 6 a.m., she said, Santa left and went to his home on Shirley Avenue in Revere.

Before leaving, Santa allegedly tried to drag Barrientos’s body out of the basement, apparently hoping to remove it from the area, but managed to move the remains only into an alley near 200 Chelsea St.

Barrientos, according to a law enforcement source, had been stabbed more than 80 times. Knight said he died from multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.

In a statement, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said the level of violence was horrific. “Veteran investigators said this was among the grisliest crime scenes they’d ever encountered,’’ Conley said in the statement.

But defense lawyer L. Manuel Macias said his client was drinking with Barrientos but left at 5 a.m. Friday and, at that point, Barrientos was still alive. The body was found at about 6:55 a.m. Macias said the two had met for the first time hours before Barrientos’s death.


Santa has no prior offenses on his record and is a legal immigrant from Colombia, Macias said. The lawyer also said there was no sign on Santa’s body that would support the assertion that Santa had violently murdered a man.

“He has no history of crime,’’ Macias said after the arraignment. “There is absolutely no evidence on his body of someone who has been involved in, as described by the Commonwealth, a gruesome crime.’’

According to court records, Santa works at a restaurant in the Boston area.

The defense attorney also said Santa has the support of his family, including his mother, who was among those in court Monday when Santa was arraigned.

John Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Martin Finucane can be reached at mfinucane@globe.com.