Couple in fatal Back Bay crash cooperating, lawyer says

Friends. family, and colleagues of Jessica Campbell and John Lanzillotti gathered Wednesday at the scene of the fatal accident at Beacon and Fairfield streets in Back Bay.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Friends. family, and colleagues of Jessica Campbell and John Lanzillotti gathered Wednesday at the scene of the fatal accident at Beacon and Fairfield streets in Back Bay.

An attorney for the Allston pair allegedly riding in an SUV that struck and killed a couple out for a stroll in the Back Bay Saturday night said Wednesday that his clients are devastated on behalf of the victims’ families, and are cooperating “100 percent” with an investigation to determine which of them was driving.

“They are deeply religious people. They’re just beside themselves with grief for the families of the victims,” attorney John Seed said about his clients, Ghuzlan Alghazali, 26, and Mohamed Alfageeh, 29, who are married. “They are much less concerned about what lies in store for one or both of them in terms of how the criminal justice system is going to play out.”

Jessica Campbell, 27, and her boyfriend, John Lanzillotti, 28, both of Brookline, were killed when the sport utility vehicle allegedly ran a red light on Beacon Street, hit a car traveling on Fairfield Street, and then flipped over and struck them.

Jessica Campbell and Jack Lanzillotti.

Witnesses described seeing the SUV come speeding through the intersection and flying through the air, landing on its roof, and skidding into Campbell and Lanzillotti, who they said had no time to react.

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Police arrested both Alghazali and Alfageeh on Tuesday, said Seed, and prosecutors said they were going to arraign Alghazali on charges of motor vehicle homicide in Boston Municipal Court. But Tuesday afternoon, citing conflicting witness statements about who was driving, prosecutors released the husband and wife without charging either of them.

“That’s something I have never seen happen,” said Seed, who said that, given the amount of conflicting information about the details of the crash, prosecutors made the right call. Authorities say they are investigating the crash, and Seed said the couple is “absolutely, 100 percent” cooperating.

The couple has four children, he said; Alghazali is a homemaker and Alfageeh works at a convenience store. Seed said the details of whether the SUV was speeding or ran a light are just as much in question as the identity of the driver.

While Boston police said this week that they were planning to charge Alfageeh with misleading investigators, Seed said his clients have done nothing to hinder the investigation.


“Somebody’s gonna be charged, you have to think that, but I don’t know who,” he said.

On Wednesday night, more than 50 people gathered for a candlelight vigil at the corner of Beacon and Fairfield streets, where a makeshift memorial for Campbell and Lanzillotti has grown since Saturday. Many knelt to add their own tokens.

“They were happy and I think that’s all we need to know,” said a longtime friend of the couple, who asked that her name not be used.

She said she met Lanzillotti in high school and Campbell in college, and had helped set them up on their first date.

Remembering them, the woman said that Campbell was witty and Lanzillotti could crack a dry joke.


Another person attending the vigil, who did not want to give his name, said, “They were two beautiful people that the world needed.”

Evan Allen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.