Hours after he allegedly robbed and killed a young South Boston woman, Edwin Alemany went to a Dedham restaurant with friends for a bite and a few drinks, Suffolk prosecutors said Wednesday.
Alemany, according to officials, was at the Tahiti Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge on Route 1, drinking and eating Polynesian food, as the parents of Amy Lord frantically waited for word of their daughter, who had been reported missing that morning.
“We feared the worst, and unfortunately that came to fruition,’’ said Tom Dusel, a family friend, who was at Suffolk Superior Court on Wednesday morning to support Lord’s parents as they watched Alemany face 20 criminal indictments, including murder and assault with intent to rape.
“I don’t think it’s anything that the Lord family can ever get over,” Dusel said. “And certainly I can’t.”
Just after 4 p.m. on July 23, a bicyclist riding through the Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park found the body of Lord, a 24-year-old online marketing specialist. She had been stabbed and strangled. Her clothes had been torn, an indication that someone had tried to rape her.
Her parents, Cynthia and Dennis Lord, sat in the front row of the courtroom, blinking back tears as Suffolk Assistant District Attorney John Pappas described Amy Lord’s final moments.
“The killing of Amy Lord was savage and brutal,” Pappas said.
Alemany, a 29-year-old father of a little girl, stood in the prisoner dock, rarely looking at the courtroom gallery as Pappas described a violent rampage that began around 5 that morning, when he assaulted a woman walking down Old Colony Avenue. He beat her and tried to choke her, but then let her go. He then walked to Dorchester Street, where he found Lord, Pappas said.
Alemany is accused of kidnapping Lord as she stepped out of her South Boston apartment, forcing her into her Jeep Cherokee, then driving to several ATMs, where he made her withdraw cash. After the killing, he allegedly set fire to her Jeep.
After later hanging out with his friends in Dedham, he went to his girlfriend’s apartment in South Boston, where the couple argued, Pappas said. He walked toward Gates Street, where he allegedly attacked another woman just after midnight. Alemany stabbed her repeatedly — she was only saved because her screams drew the attention of neighbors, police have said.
Alemany’s lawyer, Jeffrey Denner, has described his client as a troubled man who has struggled for years with schizophrenia. He said Alemany, who is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital, a facility for defendants and prisoners with psychiatric problems, hears voices that tell him what to do.
In court, Alemany spoke in a voice barely above a whisper as he answered “not guilty” to the 20 charges he now faces. He was returned to Bridgewater, where he was sent this summer after he allegedly tried to kill himself by scratching violently at his neck. On Wednesday, he wore a full beard that did not hide the scars from that episode.
Denner did not argue against Pappas’s request that Alemany continue to be held without bail.
“To me, he was not a good candidate for release,” Denner said. “I do not believe he should be released on bail. . . . This is not the kind of person you want walking the streets.”
Denner said he is not conceding that the Commonwealth’s allegations are true, but railed against the criminal justice and education system that he said failed to realize that Alemany was troubled.
As a child, Alemany was part of a special Boston public schools program for children with learning disabilities and emotional problems, and later was repeatedly arrested for crimes including theft and assault. After some of those arrests he threatened to kill himself, according to police reports.
Denner has not said whether he will argue that Alemany was criminally insane at the time of the killing, but prosecutors seem to be preparing for such a strategy.
On Wednesday, they said that surveillance video showed Alemany trying to hide his face as he forced Lord to withdraw cash. After he killed her and set fire to her Jeep, Alemany spent the money he stole from her on lottery tickets and a cellphone, Pappas said.
Those details, along with the description of him carousing with friends, painted a picture of a man who tried to cover his tracks, then showed no remorse about his actions.
Alemany also is charged with assaulting a woman in September 2012 and choking her until she fell unconscious. Though his wallet was found at the scene, he was not arrested at that time because investigators said they did not have enough evidence, a decision that would come back to haunt the Boston Police Department when Alemany was later implicated in Lord’s killing. The detective in that case was demoted and his supervisors were disciplined.
All four of the victims were between 20 and 24 years old and were attacked while walking alone late at night or in the early morning, Pappas noted in court.
The parents of the last woman attacked on July 24 also came to the courtroom yesterday. Their 21-year-old daughter, who was stabbed in the face and torso, was not present, but the small courtroom was filled with her supporters, and supporters of the Lord family. They sat mere feet from Alemany’s mother and father.
After the proceedings, Dusel said he tried not to concentrate on Alemany.
“My focus was totally on the Lord family,” he said. “I’m overwhelmed with emotion.”
His brother, Martin, who also attended the hearing, said the family “needs people’s thoughts and prayers.”
“They’re amazingly strong. . . . They’re very good people,” he said. “If anything can get them through that it’s that. There is a lot of love in that family.”