State & Region Briefs

Thursday, March 08, 2018
‘Whitey’ Bulger testifier to be tried for 1991 murder

WORCESTER — An 81-year-old convicted felon who testified at the trial of convicted Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger will be tried in the 1991 murder of an armored truck guard.

A judge Wednesday scheduled Ralph DeMasi’s trial for Sept. 19.

Authorities allege DeMasi was among four men who held up the armored truck at a Worcester supermarket in May 1991. Guard Edward Morlock Sr. was shot to death. The other three suspects have died.

DeMasi was released in 2013 after serving more than 21 years for another armored car stickup in 1991.

He was indicted in the Worcester case in 2016.

DeMasi’s attorneys are seeking dismissal, saying the indictment was impaired by an “unfair and misleading” presentation of evidence.

Woman charged with shooting at trooper competent

ATTLEBORO — A woman who allegedly shot at a state trooper in 2015 has been found competent to stand trial.

The Sun Chronicle reports that 49-year-old Julie Rabinowitz was found competent Wednesday after a state forensic psychologist examined her and reviewed previous assessments.

Authorities say shot at the trooper as he drove in Mansfield in 2015. The trooper wasn’t injured and the shooter fled, but investigators found a rifle and a hat at the scene.

Rabinowitz wasn’t arrested in the case until earlier this year when she was tied to the shooting through DNA. She had given a DNA sample after her conviction for attacking her ex-husband with a hatchet.

Her lawyer has said the trooper originally reported seeing a man fleeing the scene.

She has pleaded not guilty.

School janitor charged with having gun on grounds

WESTFORD — A janitor at an elementary school has been charged with having a loaded gun in his car on school grounds.

Police say a handgun with a high-capacity magazine was found in the trunk of 21-year-old James Healy’s car at the John A. Crisafulli Elementary School in Westford. He has since been fired from the school.

The investigation was prompted by pictures submitted anonymously to the school’s resource officer. They appeared to show Healy holding firearms. Police say Healy told them the guns in the pictures were pellet guns.

At Healy’s arraignment on Wednesday, his attorney said he has no criminal record. The lawyer says Healy suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and has struggled since his father’s death.

Bail was set at $2,000. Healy faces several firearms charges.

Renowned trauma center fires its medical director

BROOKLINE — A best-selling author and medical director of a renowned Massachusetts trauma center has been fired amid accusations of employee mistreatment.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk was removed in January from his position at the Brookline Trauma Center, which he founded 35 years ago.

Andy Pond, president of the nonprofit organization Justice Resource Institute, says van der Kolk created a hostile work environment and made employees feel denigrated and uncomfortable.

Van der Kolk says he was fired for attending a meeting with Trauma Center management that Pond told him not to attend. He has denied that he mistreated employees.

Van der Kolk filed a lawsuit against the organization last week, saying executives violated his employment contract.

Man charged with killing neighbor held without bail

WORCESTER — A man charged with robbing and fatally beating his neighbor has been held without bail.

Matthew Vanier, 33, of Gardner, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges this week in Worcester Superior Court in the December death of Randy Vallaincourt.

Vanier did not speak other than entering his pleas and his lawyer did not contest the bail or discuss the case.

The 56-year-old Vaillancourt’s body was found Dec. 9 during a police well-being check. The medical examiner determined he died from blunt-force trauma.

Police say they matched a bloody fingerprint on an interior door of the crime scene to Vanier.

The suspect and victim lived in the same apartment complex.

From Associated Press