Shortly before 21-year-old Kenny Lamour was shot dead while shoveling snow on a work crew in Jamaica Plain, the Hyde Park man who is accused of pulling the trigger allegedly received a message: “It’s me or him and I’m not going.”
A prosecutor said Friday that the missive was written by 24-year-old Donte H. Henley, of South Boston, who allegedly orchestrated the Feb. 11 murder of his fellow work crew member by enlisting another man to fetch his weapon and gun down Lamour.
“Mr. Henley essentially called in the hit,” Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum said at Henley’s arraignment in the West Roxbury division of Boston Municipal Court. He was arrested Thursday.
Henley is charged with murder under the theory of joint venture with Josiah Zachery, 18, who is accused of carrying out the killing. A not-guilty plea was entered on Henley’s behalf and Judge David Breen ordered him held without bail. In making his bail request, Polumbaum said Henley has a criminal record and has been jailed in the past.
Henley and Lamour were part of the same work crew shoveling snow at the Jamaica Plain rotary when the shooting occurred, Polumbaum said. The crew was organized by Roca Inc., a Chelsea organization that works with Greater Boston’s most at-risk youth, including high school dropouts, young parents, and those who have been through the criminal justice system.
Zachery had no connection to Roca, according to the organization.
Immediately after Lamour was killed, Henley told the police “he was on the crew and heard the shots and ducked and tried to get out of the way like everyone else and didn’t know anything else about it,” Polumbaum said.
But the investigation continued, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “Text messages, cell tower records, and other evidence carried it forward, and it will continue until all the facts are assembled,” he said.
Through that investigation, police learned that Henley and Zachery swapped phone calls and text messages shortly before the shooting, Polumbaum said.
In those exchanges, Henley “said words to the effect of ‘Where are you? I might need you; I’ll need the gun; I want to punch the kid up,’ ” according to Polumbaum.
Henley gave Zachery a detailed description of Lamour, including his clothing, information about the crew’s location, and instructions to get his firearm, according to Polumbaum and a police report filed in court.
Lamour died of a gunshot wound to the head, the report said.
Defense lawyer James Budreau said Henley is innocent.
“I expect to represent him vigorously, and hopefully, the case will be adjudicated in his favor,” he said.
Henley is due back in court April 9.
Police arrested Zachery shortly after the shooting and recovered a handgun that they believe he fired. Zachery is also accused of firing at a Boston police officer, who stopped his vehicle to investigate when he heard gunfire. The officer was not hurt, according to police.
Pleas of not guilty to murder and several firearms charges have been filed on his behalf. Zachery is being held without bail.
Lamour’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Most Precious Blood Church, said his aunt, Magalie Lamour. She said the service was delayed while the family sought a visa for Lamour’s grandmother to travel to the United States from Haiti.
“He was really trying to turn his life around,” Magalie Lamour said of her nephew, who had a criminal record.
She said Lamour insisted that Roca pick him up first when he participated in the work crew because he did not want fellow members to know where he lived. Lamour, she said, was concerned for his safety, but did not specify who he believed might want to harm him.
“He told them he believed that there are some people who are trying to kill him so he was in fear for his life,” Magalie Lamour said. “He was very careful.”
John Ward, a Roca spokesman, said in a statement the organization could not comment on the investigation or individuals involved.
He said the agency is “deeply committed to the safety of the young people we serve” and is “reviewing every aspect of this tragic incident.”
“If there is anything we can learn or any change we can implement to possibly prevent any such incident from ever occurring again, we will take action,” he said.