Edwin Alemany, the accused killer of Amy Lord, was ruled competent after a lengthy psychiatric evaluation and was arraigned Wednesday on charges that include armed assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to murder in attacks on two other women in South Boston.
Judge Thomas C. Horgan ordered Alemany held on $3 million cash bail while he awaits trial for those attacks in South Boston District Court. Alemany is scheduled to be arraigned again Thursday, to face a murder charge in West Roxbury District Court in the slaying of Lord, a 24-year-old South Boston woman whose body was found in Hyde Park’s Stony Brook Reservation.
Despite legal proceedings playing out in separate courthouses, the cases are “inextricably intertwined,” Assistant Suffolk District Attorney John Pappas said Wednesday, laying out the basic facts of the two alleged attacks — on Old Colony Avenue and Gates Street in South Boston — that occurred in a 20-hour window around Lord’s killing. Pappas is expected to do the same Thursday for that murder count.
Included in the prosecutor’s account were new details of the attacks, including an allegation that he told one of the victims he let go that he had a hit out to kill someone else.
Pappas said that in the first attack, around 4:15 a.m. on July 23, Alemany punched and dragged a 22-year-old woman into a parking lot on Old Colony Avenue as she walked to work at a Dunkin’ Donuts nearby. He threatened to kill her, until, holding her by the neck, he suddenly let her go, Pappas said.
“You’re not the one I’m looking for. I’m sorry. I have a hit out for a female pushing a baby carriage, walking with a male wearing a white shirt,” Alemany told the woman, according to the prosecutor. Though he helped her pick up her belongings, he also said he knew where she worked and warned her not to call the police; she waited about 45 minutes.
With Alemany’s parents and about 20 relatives and friends filling the courtroom benches, Alemany stood in silence in a green jumpsuit, mostly staring at the floor, occasionally glancing at the ceiling or his family while showing little emotion. His hands were cuffed out of view in the defendant’s dock.
It was markedly different from Alemany’s last visit to the court, an aborted arraignment July 25 in which Alemany wore a loose hospital gown, threatened suicide, and bled from one hand after reportedly pulling stitches from a wound allegedly incurred while stabbing the woman on Gates Street.
Instead of being arraigned that day, Alemany was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a 20-day competency evaluation. The following week, authorities said they had enough evidence to charge him not just for the attacks on the two women who survived but also with killing Lord, a slaying at once random and vicious that rocked the state and set neighbors on edge.
Lord, a Wilbraham native, was grabbed as she left her apartment before work, dragged back into the vestibule of her building and savagely beaten, and then driven to five ATMs to withdraw cash before being stabbed and strangled, police say.
Neither Alemany nor his lawyer spoke during the arraignment, and a not-guilty plea was entered automatically on his behalf. They did not contest the bail sought by Pappas and approved by the judge.
But defense lawyer Jeffrey A. Denner said the state’s competency finding does not prevent a possible insanity defense for Alemany. Indeed, though he stopped short of saying that Alemany had committed the attacks and though he has yet to receive the evidence or conduct his own psychiatric review, Denner called Alemany’s alleged behavior, including the prosecution’s claim that he told one of the victims he had a hit out on someone, unstable.
That “struck me as crazy” and might speak to some “underlying pathology,” Denner said.
The Globe previously reported that documents kept by Alemany’s parents detail extensive mental health issues — including hallucinations, severe depression, and aggression — in his teenage years, with multiple psychiatric hospitalizations and an array of prescriptions.
At 18, relatives have said, Alemany was released from Department of Youth Services custody, assumed responsibility for his own care, and mostly refused to seek treatment or take antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs.
Red eyes hidden by sunglasses to face the news media, Alemany’s relatives stood behind Denner after the arraignment, but declined to speak.
The lawyer described them as a hard-working family at a loss for what to do about Alemany’s illness.
“There is an issue here of whether the system functioned in a way that protected him and protected the public,” Denner said. “None of that is an excuse. This is all an explanation and context for what is a horrible tragedy. Several women are hurt, and one lovely young woman is dead, and he’s charged with that murder. Whether he has done that murder or not, it’s an absolute tragedy.”
Pappas said the woman attacked on Old Colony Avenue identified Alemany from a photo lineup, while witnesses, forensic evidence, and security-camera footage tied Alemany to the Gates Street attack, in which a 21-year-old was stabbed repeatedly outside the entrance to her apartment around 12:10 a.m. July 24. That includes DNA matches between Alemany’s blood and blood on both the young woman’s shirt and on a trail leading from the apartment, and surveillance footage from a home nearby showing a man walking away with a wounded left hand and a right-elbow tattoo matching Alemany’s.
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.