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    Family of slain Haverhill teen recalls boy’s ‘legacy of love’ as alleged killer arraigned

    Bryce Finn.
    Bryce Finn.

    NEWBURYPORT — The grieving mother of 18-year-old Bryce Finn, the Haverhill resident fatally shot in the doorway of his own home last year, said Thursday that her son “brought happiness and love” to many people and urged the public to “continue his legacy of love.”

    The heartfelt comments from Megan Finn came in a statement released by Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office hours before a suspect in the teen’s slaying was arraigned in Haverhill District Court.

    Nicholas Mandato, 20, of Dagsboro, Del., was arraigned on a murder charge in the Haverhill session held at Newburyport District Court, where a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf. He was held without bail and is slated to return to court Aug. 28.

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    “What our family has gone through in the past year no family should ever be faced with,” Megan Finn said in the release. “Our son Bryce brought happiness and love to so many lives and expected little in return. There are no words to accurately convey the amount of joy that was wrenched from our lives beginning that horrible night more than a year ago.”

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    During the brief hearing Thursday, Mandato stood before the court in a black T-shirt with a detailed skull, looking away from the spectator’s gallery, where Bryce Finn’s family members listened.

    Essex Assistant District Attorney Christina Ronan argued that Mandato should be held without bail because of the severity of the June 2017 crime and “his ties outside the Commonwealth.” His attorney did not object to the request.

    Details of the slaying were not read out in the court, and the case file, containing the police report, was impounded two weeks before the hearing.

    Two other suspects arrested Wednesday, Thomas Warner, 21, and Kenneth Pitts, 18, both of Delaware, will also be arraigned on murder charges within the next couple of weeks, authorities said.

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    Finn was shot in the chest when he answered his door around 9:32 p.m. on June 6, 2017, days after graduating from Haverhill High School.

    Investigators haven’t indicated which of the three suspects allegedly pulled the trigger, nor have they disclosed a motive for the killing.

    Authorities said soon after the killing that they didn’t believe the attack was random.

    Shortly after the brazen crime, Beth Kitsos, Haverhill High principal, had alluded to unspecified challenges that Finn faced.

    “Bryce, like many young people today, faced challenges growing up,” Kitsos wrote in a letter to parents and guardians of his classmates. “Our experiences here at Haverhill High School essentially showed he was a young man who kept a low profile.”

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    She said the “tragic events in a young person’s life have an adverse effect on many young people but also deeply affect all in the school system that work so hard to help young men and women as they navigate through the process of growing up.”

    A Finn family friend last year told the Globe the slain teen worked during high school to help his family and to save money. He was an athlete in middle school, the friend said, adding that they ran cross-country and played football together in those years.

    Finn was proud of his accomplishments — proud when he saved up the money to buy a car and proud when he received his high school diploma, the friend said.

    On Wednesday night, Haverhill Police Chief Alan DeNaro vowed in a statement that the defendants would be “vigorously prosecuted.”

    On Thursday, Megan Finn asked the community to “honor Bryce’s memory by continuing his legacy of love. Hug your kids, kiss your partner, help to take action to see that this never occurs in our community again.”

    Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.