Mother of Jennifer Martel critical of police decision to free Jared Remy on bail
Wendy Maeda/Globe staff; Facebook photo
WALTHAM – He was in their grasp and then he was gone. Jared W. Remy was arraigned in Waltham District Court Wednesday on charges of slamming Jennifer Martel’s face into a mirror in their townhouse. But prosecutors declined to seek bail, allowing him to leave the court with nothing more than an order not to abuse Martel, with whom he lived and had a 4-year-old daughter.
The following night, police were called back to the townhouse in Waltham, where they found Remy covered in blood and Martel, his girlfriend, slashed to death beside a pink tricycle and other toys on their patio.
“If they had kept him, maybe my daughter would be alive today,” Martel’s mother, Patty, said in an interview. “But he went back and finished the job.”
On Friday, the top Middlesex prosecutor defended the decision to not seek bail for Remy earlier in the week.
“On Wednesday, a [bail] request was made based on the information that we had on Wednesday,” said Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan. “Obviously and tragically, there is different information today, Friday morning.’’
Friends and relatives said Martel, 27, an aspiring teacher who worked at a nearby Market Basket to provide for her daughter, had been trying to extricate herself from what she told them had become an abusive relationship with Remy, the son of famed Boston Red Sox player and broadcaster Jerry Remy.
“I talked to her on Wednesday; she said she was planning her escape,” said Patty Martel, who on Friday was driving from her home in Virginia to Massachusetts. “It started off she was very happy with him, but, as time went on, he showed his true colors, and it got worse and worse.”
“He would degrade her, say horrible things,” Jennifer’s grandfather, Richard Martel Sr., said in an interview at his home in Fall River. “Jared was this way for years, and no one ever did anything.”
There were many warnings signs, including a history of violence against women, aggression, and steroid abuse, friends and family said. A close friend and neighbor, Kristina Hill, called Remy “very controlling” and “constantly smothering her, only wanting her to be with him.”
“He would go on a rage off the smallest thing,” Hill said. “She wanted to leave and was trying to do what was best for her daughter.”
In Waltham District Court Friday, prosecutors said Remy, 34, attacked Martel in their kitchen, living room, and on a stairway before pinning her to the ground of the patio, where he stabbed her repeatedly, in the view of several neighbors.
At least one neighbor in the Windsor Village apartment complex tried to pull the burly Remy off Martel, but was driven back when Remy began trying to strike him with the knife, Assistant Middlesex District Attorney Lisa McGovern said.
“Great force and great effort was made by this defendant
in stabbing Ms. Martel over and over and over again,’’ McGovern said, in what she called a “protracted struggle.”
Benjamin Ray, a resident of the complex, said he tried to help Martel, but declined to be specific because of the ongoing homicide investigation.
“It’s not an easy thing to watch; it’s not an easy thing to try and stop,’’ said Ray, who called Martel “a great girl” and “a great mom.” “I did what I could to stop it. And it wasn’t enough.”
In court, McGovern said that when Waltham police arrived after numerous 911 calls, Remy was shirtless and his socks were stained with Martel’s blood. He held his hands over his head and surrendered to the officers without incident.
Their daughter was at home during the attack, said Ryan, the district attorney, who added that the girl is now in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
Not-guilty pleas were entered on Remy’s behalf to charges of murder and domestic assault and battery. Remy, who stood in the prisoner’s dock with his eyes closed during most of the proceeding, was ordered held without bail.
Remy’s attorney, Peter Bella, did not contest the bail order. Bella said he has only limited information about the incident, and said his client had wounds on his hands that might be “construed as defensive wounds.”
“I’m not sure anyone really knows what happened, what started this whole issue,” Bella said. “We know how it ended. We don’t know how it started.’’
On Wednesday, after his arrest the previous night on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, Remy was released with few conditions. Ryan said her office recommended Remy’s release based, in part, on a conversation prosecutors had with Martel and with Waltham police.
“Mr. Remy was released on personal recognizance with a bail warning and a no-abuse order,’’ Ryan said. “The bail recommendation on Wednesday was based on the totality of the circumstances, the singular [criminal charge] count in the case, as well as conversations with the investigating officer, as well as Ms. Martel.’’
According to the docket at Waltham District Court, Martel obtained an emergency restraining order against Remy at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, which remained in effect until Wednesday when the courthouse opened.
But she did not appear in court Wednesday, and the restraining order expired.
“Because Ms. Martel elected not to extend the restraining order and did not come to court on Wednesday morning’’ Remy was released, McGovern said.
Patty Martel said her daughter did not press to renew the restraining order at the request of the Remy family. Jennifer had spoken to Remy’s mother, who begged her not to file any kind of complaint because it would ruin Remy’s life; she also told Jennifer they would protect her, Patty Martel said.
“Every time Jennifer had problems she would call them,” she said.
The Remys could not be reached Friday.
Even without Jennifer Martel’s cooperation, prosecutors could have asked that Remy be held under the state’s dangerousness law, which was enacted in the early 1990s to give prosecutors a tool in the fight against domestic violence. Middlesex prosecutors did use that law when Remy was charged in 2005 with kicking, punching, and dragging his former girlfriend, which led to his being held for at least 81 days at Middlesex jail, according to court records.
On Friday, prosecutors acknowledged openly that Remy had a long criminal history, but did not say whether they were aware of that history on Wednesday.
Remy has been prosecuted at least 14 times in Waltham court since 1998, according to Waltham District Court records. At least one of those cases involved a third woman he is accused of assaulting.
In 2009, the Globe reported that Remy and a second member of the Red Sox security staff were implicated in steroid use, a disclosure that led Major League Baseball to open an investigation into the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs during the team’s 2008 pennant race.
Both Remy and the second man were fired by the Red Sox; this week, Remy listed his employer as a company founded by his father.
Remy acknowledged to the Globe that he has been a steroid user and admitted beating up a former girlfriend in 2005. It is unclear whether he has a job.
A former housemate of Martel’s, Barbara Manney, said in a phone interview that Martel was aware of Remy’s steroid use, but did not see it as a red flag.
At the time, seven years ago, “they were in the honeymoon period, and things were good,” said Manney, who lived with Martel in Taunton.
Patty Martel said her daughter was very outgoing and independent, and family members said that could be why Jennifer Martel did not ask for their help.
“She always said she could take care of herself,” Patty Martel said. “. . . That’s the type of person she was. She didn’t want to burden us with it.”
Jennifer Martel’s sister-in-law, Andrea Martel, who also lives in Virginia, said: “We just never suspected he was abusing her. We just thought he was controlling of her. She told us not to worry.”
At the Market Basket where Jennifer Martel worked as an assistant manager more than 30 hours a week while studying at an online university to be a teacher, colleagues were mourning a woman they had come to regard as family.
“It’s been a trying day,” John Garon, the front-end manager said. “There’s been a lot of crying eyes.”
Garon said Martel doted on her daughter and brought the girl into the store last week to pick up balloons and a cake for an upcoming birthday.
“Everything she did, she did for her daughter,” Garon said.
Patty Martel agreed.
“She loved her daughter,” she said. “Her daughter was her world.”
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