Two men held following arraignment for fatal Dorchester shooting

Judge Jonathan R. Tynes ruled at the Tuesday arraignment of Shaquille Brown and Keith Cousins that the men be held without bail in connection with a June shooting.
Judge Jonathan R. Tynes ruled at the Tuesday arraignment of Shaquille Brown and Keith Cousins that the men be held without bail in connection with a June shooting.PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF

Christopher Austin was walking to Ashmont Station on a bright June morning, headed to his job handling baggage at Logan Airport, when a gaptoothed man in khaki pants approached him, prosecutors said.

They spoke briefly when suddenly the man pulled out a firearm and shot Austin once in the head, according to officials and Austin’s death certificate.

Assistant District Attorney David Bradley described the June 28 shooting as “brazen” in Dorchester District Court on Tuesday. Austin clung to life at Boston Medical Center for two days before succumbing to his injuries, a death that came amid a 30 percent rise in gun violence since last July that has alarmed city officials.


Bradley identified the shooter as 22-year-old Shaquille Brown, not present in the courtroom at the request of his lawyer and charged with first degree murder. Suspects in killings are often kept out of view during arraignments to avoid false witness identifications.

Keith Cousins, 30, was arraigned alongside Brown, charged with first-degree murder for his alleged role in the killing. Bradley said Cousins was waiting in a blue two-door Honda coupe seen leaving the scene after the shooting.

Not guilty pleas were entered on behalf of both men. Cousins’s lawyer, John Hayes, said none of the evidence cited during the arraignment showed that Cousins participated in the act of killing.

James Powderly, who represented Brown during the arraignment, said prosecutors have given him minimal information about the homicide. Powderly was standing in for Mark Bennett, the lawyer assigned to Brown’s case.

“I understand the seriousness of the offense would require at this stage that he be held without bail,” Powderly said. But he asked Judge Jonathan Tynes to set the bail without prejudice so Brown could view evidence and make another bail argument.

Tynes ordered both men held without bail.


Bradley said surveillance footage caught both men lurking in the parking lot of the station about half an hour before the shooting.

Bradley said when Austin arrived on Ashmont Street, Brown got out of the car and crouched behind it, appearing to want to hide from Austin.

Austin stopped into a store, then returned to Ashmont Street, where Brown allegedly confronted him.

After the shooting, witnesses and the cameras caught both men fleeing the parking lot in the blue Honda, Bradley said.

A search warrant at Brown’s home led to the recovery of a revolver and ammunition, Bradley said.

Police apprehended Cousins in Marietta, Ga., on July 14. They also found the same blue car that was allegedly used to flee Ashmont, Bradley said.

Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com.