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Warwick man sentenced to 15 years for terrorist plot after flipping for the government

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BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Occasionally choking back tears, a Warwick man who plotted to behead a conservative blogger renounced ISIS in a Boston courtroom Wednesday morning, vowing to become a productive member of society after he serves time for his role in the terrorist plot.

Nicholas Rovinski, 27, was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison for conspiring to support ISIS and conspiring to commit an act of terrorism. He will receive credit for time served behind bars since his arrest in June 2015.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann acknowledged in court that Rovinski differed from other federal terror subjects in that he has publicly renounced ISIS and was willing to cooperate with federal investigators, including testifying for three days against his co-conspirator David Wright.

Siegmann said Rovinski never complained nor wavered in his decision to cooperate during long prep sessions for his testimony, even as threats were made to kill him and his family and to behead his cat.

Rovinski, Wright and Wright’s uncle Usaamah Rahim all plotted to behead conservative blogger Pamela Geller back in 2015, after ISIS (also known as ISIL or the Islamic State Group) issued a decree urging members to kill her over a cartoon contest of the Prophet Muhammad. The plot was never carried out.

“I’m striving to be a new man,” Rovinski said in court Wednesday. “I accept responsibility for my actions.” He said his crimes, for which he pleaded guilty in 2016, were full of “animus” and “evil.”

Rovinski also said he hopes to be a productive member of society upon his release, aiming to do charity work to help the poor and veterans. “He feels really badly about having signed on to an ideology that is inimical to the military forces that protect the country,” defense attorney William Fick said outside court.

While the plea agreement called for a possible sentence of 15-22 years, prosecutors and the defense team jointly recommended the lower-end 15 year sentence on Wednesday.

“There’s no doubt that the defendant…posed a grave threat to the United States in June 2015,” Siegmann said. She said his diagnosis of cerebral palsy is “not an excuse, but part of why he was so swayed” by Wright.

Court sketch of David Wright in court.

Wright was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Tuesday after being convicted by a jury in October. He was painted as the mastermind of the beheading plot, manipulating Rovinski into agreeing to the plan. Rahim, the third co-conspirator, was killed by police back in 2015 after lunging at officers with a knife.

After his arrest, Rovinski wrote two letters in prison to Wright, continuing to express a desire to recruit people to ISIS. But prosecutors said he later denounced the ideology and has fully cooperated since.

In emotional letters to the court, Rovinski’s family members described him as someone who had trouble fitting in, in part because of his disability, and asserted he was “brainwashed” by Wright after Rovinski turned to Islam following some troubled teen years.

“They knew he was vulnerable and naive, and that he was a lost young man trying to fit in and find friends,” Rovinski’s mother Lori Rovinski wrote in a letter to the court, asking for leniency.

Family members declined to comment on the sentence after the hearing.

Rovinski’s Twitter photo from 2015

“If he hadn’t had the misfortune for encountering Mr. Wright online, this phase may have gone by unnoticed,” said Fick.

Still, Fick agreed the sentence as fair, while also calling it an “extremely, extremely severe punishment.”

Judge Bill Young recommended that Rovinski be placed at FCI Danbury in Connecticut, a low-security facility where he would participate in a skills program. He was also ordered to have no contact with Pamela Geller, and to be on supervised release for the rest of his life once he completes his sentence.

“These are most serious crimes,” Young said to Rovinski. “I’m glad you can acknowledge how fair the government has been.”


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Crime, Local News, Massachusetts, News, SE Mass

Affidavit: Mother of boy killed in murder-suicide feared it would happen

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FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The mother of a boy who police say was killed by his father in an apparent murder-suicide Thursday night was afraid it would happen as far back as four years ago, according to an affidavit she wrote in support of a restraining order.

In 2013, the mother of Anthony Scaccia wrote in the document that she was having a dispute with William Scaccia over the custody of their then-2-year-old son.

“He made many implications that he would kill Anthony and himself,” she wrote. She quoted Scaccia as saying, “You don’t know the depths I will go to keep my son. You have not seen how evil I can be.”

The restraining order was granted at the time, but later expired.

Four years after that document was written, police say William Scaccia shot and killed 6-year-old Anthony in his East Street home and then turned the gun on himself. He spread gasoline around the home and lit a spark in an apparent attempt to burn the house down after the murder-suicide, police said.

The boy’s grandmother, the only other adult home at the time of the incident, woke up and put out the flames while calling 911, police said. A neighbor says she banged on his door, explaining that she couldn’t find her glasses and needed help getting to her grandson upstairs.

“There was no bringing him back,” said Richard Shain, the neighbor who said he entered the home and found Anthony’s body.

Police said a suicide note provided enough evidence to conclude that the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide.

The restraining order is just one example of a trail of possible warning signs including arrests and other contact with police, according to Foxboro Police Chief William Baker.

Baker said Scaccia had been arrested as recently as last Saturday, after allegedly assaulting someone in Foxboro. The following day, Baker says someone with a “domestic relationship” to Scaccia called police to report he had a gun.

Baker had denied Scaccia a pistol permit back in July because of his history of domestic abuse. Police confiscated the gun and charged Scaccia with illegal possession of a firearm.

Scaccia apparently obtained another gun by Thursday, when police said he committed the murder-suicide. Baker said investigators recovered the weapon and shell casings, and would conduct ballistics tests to try and determine the origin of the gun.

Police said Scaccia did not live at the East Street home, but they are still looking into what his current address was. There was not currently a restraining order in place between Scaccia and his son or his son’s mother.

Deb DeBare, an advocate with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said the case reminds her of why the community needs to do better to hold abusers accountable.

“I get chills, because it’s unfortunately all too common when victims of domestic violence will tell us they see warning signs, and they know how dangerous these situations are,” DeBare said Friday night.

She said victims can work with trained domestic violence advocates to form a safety plan tailored to their situation in order to try and prevent domestic murder.

“Restraining orders in and of itself are not going to be a magic cure-all,” DeBare said. “It’s a tool in a toolbox… every single person’s situation is unique, but all these situations are potentially lethal.”

Chief Baker echoed those sentiments, insisting at a news conference that the system is not failing domestic violence victims, and encouraging them to come forward and continue to report abuse.

“I would resist the temptation to draw the conclusion that the system failed somehow or that restraining orders or legal processes associated with these sorts of cases are of no value,” Baker said. “I think they’re of great value.”

Crime, Local News, Massachusetts, National, News, SE Mass, Top Video, Video

Michelle Carter found guilty in texting suicide case

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TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A judge handed down a guilty verdict Friday morning in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michelle Carter, a 20-year-old woman who urged her boyfriend to kill himself back in 2014 when the two were teenagers.

The trial garnered international attention and conversation about teen suicide, depression and the impacts of texting.

“The Commonwealth has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Carter’s actions, and also her failure to act, where she had a self-created duty to Mr. Roy since she had put him into that toxic environment, constituted each and all wanton and reckless conduct,” Judge Lawrence Moniz said before he rendered his verdict. “Said conduct caused the death of Mr. Roy.”

Judge Moniz allowed Carter to remain out on bail until her sentencing on August 3.

Conrad Roy III took his own life on July 12, 2014 by using a generator to fill his pickup truck with carbon monoxide in a Fairhaven parking lot. But prosecutors for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts charged Carter with causing his death, arguing her constant urging that he go through with his suicide plans was akin to killing him.

The judge said the encouragement alone was not enough to prove she caused his death, but the combination of those messages and the evidence that Carter told him to get back in his truck during the suicide attempt is what led to his determination that she was guilty.

“Ms. Carter…had reason to know that Mr. Roy had followed her instruction and had placed himself in the toxic environment of that truck,” Moniz said.

He said the fact that Roy had previously attempted suicide had no bearing on this case.

Roy’s father, Conrad Roy Jr., briefly thanked the judge, prosecution and police for their work on the case.

“This has been a very tough time for our family, and we’d just like to process this verdict that we’re happy with,” Roy told reporters.

“Although we are very pleased with the verdict, in reality there are no winners here today,” Assistant District Attorney Katie Rayburn said. “Conrad, an 18-year-old boy, is dead. And a young woman is now convicted of causing his death. Two families have been torn apart and will be affected by this for years to come.”

She said she hoped the verdict would bring closure to Roy’s family and friends.

Friends and family members of Conrad Roy III listen as Judge Lawrence Moniz announces his verdict on 6/16/17. Michelle Carter was found Guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Conrad Roy III. Photo by Glenn C.Silva/Fairhaven Neighborhood News.

“He was a wonderful young man who had his whole life in front of him. He was making efforts to better himself and to find his way through a difficult stage of his life,” Rayburn said. “I know we all wish that he had the opportunity to grow up into adulthood, to become a tugboat captain and to enjoy his future.”

She also acknowledged the great deal of attention the case has received.

“We fully understand that this was a unique case that dealt with a lot of important issues in our society today,” Rayburn said. “But in the end, the case was about one young man and one young woman who were brought together by tragic circumstances. The evidence clearly showed but not for the actions of Michelle Carter, Conrad Roy would still be alive the morning of July 13, 2014.”

Carter’s defense attorney Joseph Cataldo said he was disappointed in the verdict but declined to comment further while sentencing is still pending.

Cataldo had argued that Roy made the decision to take his own life, pointing to a previous suicide attempt and evidence of suicidal thoughts dating back years. In a suicide note left behind for Carter, Roy thanked her for trying to help him and did not ascribe blame.

The defense also hired an expert witness, psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin, who testified that he believed Carter was “involuntarily intoxicated” by antidepressants when she sent the texts urging Roy to take his own life.

Judge Moniz said he did not find Dr. Breggin credible.

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The Signs and How to get Help >>

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Raimondo, Baker join US Climate Alliance

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker have both joined a new coalition of states responding to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The United States Climate Alliance was formed Thursday night by the governors of New York, California and Washington State. Democratic Governor Raimondo and Republican Governor Baker joined Friday, along with Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat, and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican.

The coalition says its aim is to uphold the principles of the Paris Climate Agreement, even if the federal government will not.

“My position is that we’re going to still lead here in Rhode Island. Climate change is real, we’re going to meet the challenge,” Raimondo told Eyewitness News on Friday.

Raimondo has previously announced a plan for Rhode Island to have 1,000 megawatts of clean energy by 2020, which would represent 10 times more clean energy than the state had in 2016. She has also said she wants to double the amount of clean energy jobs by that date.

Rhode Island recently received national attention when it became home to the first offshore wind farm in the United States.

“America ought to be the leader,” Raimondo said. “We should be leading the way in the world on issues like climate change. And if Washington won’t do that, then we’re going to lead the way right here in Rhode Island.”

While opposition to Trump’s decision to pull out of the 200-country deal was swift and widespread, some supporters of his action said the deal was unfair, and leaving it would not stop the country from achieving climate goals.

“Withdrawal from the Paris Accord doesn’t mean we as a country will not still invest our time in climate concerns, it just means we will do it at our pace,” said state Rep. Bobby Nardolillo, a Coventry Republican. “Do not be fooled by scare tactics from extreme activists in response to the President’s decision.”

Nardolillo is running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in 2018.

Whitehouse, a second-term Democrat who has prioritized climate change during his time in Congress, lambasted Trump’s decision. “Trump is betraying the country, in the service of Breitbart fake news, the shameless fossil fuel industry, and the Koch brothers’ climate denial operation,” he said in a statement.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, the last Republican nominee for Rhode Island governor who is considering a rematch against Raimondo in 2018, will be forging ahead with efforts to thwart climate change, according to spokesman Mark Schieldrop.

“The president’s decision won’t change Cranston’s efforts to address climate impacts, protect the environment and promote sustainability,” Schieldrop said. He said the city will be kicking off new participation in a solar program next week.

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Crime, Local News, Massachusetts, News, SE Mass, Top Video

Judge vacates Hernandez murder conviction, dismisses charges

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — The same judge who presided over the trial of Aaron Hernandez ruled Tuesday morning to vacate his murder conviction and drop the charge against the former NFL star. Two firearms charges were also vacated.

With Odin Lloyd’s family sitting in the front row, Bristol County Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh said she was required to follow a legal precedent that allows a conviction to be vacated if the defendant dies before the direct appeal has been decided.

The former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his prison cell April 19 while serving a life sentence in the killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. His suicide came just five days after he was acquitted in a Boston double murder in 2012.

John and Linda Thompson, the attorneys who had been preparing to represent Hernandez in his appeal, filed for “abatement ab initio,” the legal term for the process, after Hernandez’s death.

In a hearing Tuesday morning, lawyers for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts argued that Hernandez lost his right to abatement when he took his own life, claiming he did so intentionally because he knew his conviction would be thrown out.

Judge Garsh did not agree. In delivering her decision, she said Hernandez’s suicide note released last week pointed toward religion and possible “mental disturbance” as reasons for his suicide.

“To allow an archaic rule to erase the jury’s verdict flies in the face of common sense and basic fairness.” – Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III

“This court cannot know why Hernandez chose to end his life,” Judge Garsh said. “I decline to infer an intent by Hernandez to relinquish his appellate rights, or an intent to interfere with the course of justice, from his suicide.”

“I know everyone is looking for me to be angry,” said Odin Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, after the ruling. “But I’m not. He’s guilty, and he will always be guilty.”

Ward, a self-described woman of faith, said God would be the ultimate judge.

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III delivered a strong rebuke of the principle behind the dismissal of the charges after the decision was made.

“To allow an archaic rule to erase the jury’s verdict flies in the face of common sense and basic fairness,” he said.

Quinn said his office would file an appeal.

“Aaron Hernandez deliberately, consciously and voluntarily chose to end his life,” said Quinn. “He died a guilty man and a convicted murder. This fact is indisputable. He should not be able to accomplish in death what could not have accomplished in life.”

Doug Sheff, the attorney representing Ward in the wrongful death suit against Hernandez’s estate, said the civil suit would continue; it is separate from the criminal case and does not require a conviction.

“The civil suit will go on just fine,” Sheff said outside court. He has previously called on the Patriots to pay out any money now owed to Aaron Hernandez’s estate, in hopes it would end up in the hands of Lloyd’s family. The Patriots have declined to comment on players’ contracts or financial terms.

Sheff said Tuesday they are still looking into what assets may exist outside of Hernandez’s house and car. The car was sold for about $20,000 and the money is being held by the court while the civil case is pending, Sheff said.

“We did take particular note the other day to the handwritten note that said “you’re rich,”‘ Sheff added, referring to the suicide note addressed to Hernandez’s fiancée released last week. “We don’t know what that refers to, and we’d like to find out.”

Separately, a judge in New Bedford Tuesday denied a motion filed by Hernandez’s fiancee Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez requesting an injunction against the release of further writings left behind by Hernandez.

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Judge orders DA to release Hernandez suicide notes to family

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) —  A judge has ordered the Worcester County District Attorney to release three handwritten notes from Aaron Hernandez to his family.

Superior Court Justice Thomas F. McGuire, Jr. handed down the order just hours before Hernandez was laid to rest in a private funeral in Bristol, Connecticut.

The order comes after the attorney for Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, filed a motion in Bristol County Superior Court asking the state to “produce Aaron Hernandez’s jail cell writings.” In the order allowing the motion, Justice McGuire says the DA must produce copies of any “suicide or other notes, if any, that appear to have been authored by Aaron Hernandez in connection with his death.”

In-Depth Coverage: Aaron Hernandez »

A spokesman for the Worcester County DA confirmed that the notes were turned over Monday afternoon, and said they would not be released publicly.

The judge allowed the DA’s office to redact portions of the notes for the purpose of protecting the ongoing investigation into the ex-NFL player and convicted murderer’s death. McGuire ordered the notes to be sent to the family’s attorney in time for Hernandez’s burial.

Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett attended the hearing and spoke to reporters afterwards, declining to comment on to whom the notes were addressed or what they contained.

“I would say some of them are suicide notes,” Bennett said. He asked the judge to allow the notes to be redacted in order to preserve the investigation, but said he would leave it up to the DA to decide if redactions were necessary. “I know that in reviewing the notes just a few minutes ago, that they’re not going to affect the investigation,” he said.

Bennett said he personally attended the hearing because his office oversees the Massachusetts State Police, Department of Corrections and Medical Examiner’s Office, all of which are involved in investigating Hernandez’s death.

He said the investigation is still ongoing despite Hernandez’s official manner of death being ruled a suicide.

“It doesn’t end when the medical examiner makes a determination,” Bennett said. “They can go on for months and months and months.” He said part of the continuing investigation will include interviewing 96 inmates who were residing in the wing of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center where Hernandez took his own life.

The attorney for the Hernandez family, George Leontire, did not immediately return a phone call and email requesting comment on the suicide notes.

Separately, a hearing in the civil case between the mother of murder victim Odin Lloyd and Hernandez’s estate was previously scheduled to be heard in Superior Court on Monday, but it was canceled. Doug Sheff, the attorney for Lloyd’s mother Ursula Ward, told Eyewitness News he canceled the hearing because it conflicted with Hernandez’s funeral. A new date for that hearing has not yet been set.

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Crime, Massachusetts, New England, News, Top Video

DA: Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez killed 2 over spilled drink

In-Depth Coverage: Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial »

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BOSTON (WPRI) — On the opening day of the double murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, a prosecutor painted a picture of an agitated, paranoid man who detested disrespect and killed two men because one of them spilled a drink on him.

The defense sowed doubt on the prosecutor’s star witness and claimed law enforcement mishandled evidence and intimidated witnesses in order to pin the crimes on Hernandez.

Hernandez, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, is already serving a life sentence for the unrelated 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.

In the Boston case, which dates back to July 2012, prosecutors say Hernandez killed 29-year-old Daniel de Abreu and 28-year-old Safiro Furtado outside Club Cure in the city’s theater district.

“Daniel de Abreu danced into Aaron Hernandez and he spilled his drink,” Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan told a jury in his opening statement Wednesday. He alleged that Hernandez took the encounter as a sign of disrespect and it was the motive for the murder.

Haggan said Hernandez and the victims did not know each other and came from “two very different worlds” that collided that night.

“One world was that of working-class immigrants, relatively recently in this country. The other world was that of a professional athlete, a celebrity in the city of Boston,” Haggan explained.

Safiro Furtado and Daniel De Abreu (Photos shown in court)
Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu (Photos shown in court)

Haggan said after the drink was spilled, Hernandez and his friend, Alexander Bradley waited for two hours for de Abreu, Furtado and three other friends to leave the nightclub. When they did, Haggan claims Hernandez fired five gunshots out the window of his own car into the victims’ car, killing de Abreu and Furtado and wounding one of the other men, who survived.

“Two men’s lives were snuffed out in a hail of gunfire,” Haggan said.

Bradley, who prosecutors allege Hernandez shot in the face in Florida a year later, is the prosecution’s star witness. Hernandez is also charged with witness intimidation in the case of Bradley.

Hernandez’ defense attorney, Jose Baez, painted a different picture of the night in question, casting doubt on Bradley’s credibility and floating the possibility that Bradley himself could have committed the murder.

“This story not only doesn’t make sense, it’s outright crazy,” Baez said. The defense attorney gained nationwide fame in 2011 after getting Casey Anthony acquitted of murdering her daughter.

Baez told jurors in his opening statement that crucial video evidence of the spilled-drink encounter from the nightclub  “disappeared,” and outright accused law enforcement of mishandling the crime scene.

“The one piece of evidence – the main piece of evidence…is missing. It disappeared,” Baez said. He also claimed that Boston police mishandled the victims’ bodies, contaminating them with sheets and allowing a street-sweeper to pass through the crime scene.

Baez offered an alternative scenario, arguing that one of the victims knew Alexander Bradley.

“This didn’t happen over a spilled drink,” Baez said. “This happened over a drug deal. Alexander Bradley had issues with Daniel de Abreu.”

Abreu’s sister disputed that theory, testifying that her brother did not do drugs. She was asked by the defense if she was aware of a connection between Abreu and “a narcotics provider from Connecticut.”

“No, that doesn’t sound like my brother at all,” Neusa Abreu said. It was her car that Daniel borrowed the night he went to Club Cure, and he ultimately died inside the silver BMW. She said Abreu was a military veteran in his home country of Cape Verde and also a police officer.

Safiro Furtado’s sister was also called to the stand Wednesday, and also testified that her brother did not do drugs. Both sisters sobbed as they were asked to identify photos of their brothers.

The trial is expected to last four to six weeks.

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Local News, Massachusetts, News, Politics, SE Mass

Attleboro City Council denies La Salette nuns a crosswalk

[anvplayer video=”1260633″] ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The three nuns who work at La Salette Shrine say they’ll be relying on God and some reflective vests to cross the street after the city council voted against their request to build a crosswalk on Park Street.

The sisters, Theresa Kareng, Mila Delacruz and Francoise Rasoarevao will be moving into a newly renovated house across the street from the shrine in March, and wanted a crosswalk so they could safely travel to and from the shrine. The Attleboro City Council denied their request by a vote of 6 to 4 at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“It is their responsibility to provide [for] the people,” Sister Delacruz said. “Not only us. We are not only asking for ourselves, but all people especially those who come here every day.”

The majority of city councilors did not see it as such a simple issue. “Installing a simple crosswalk does not solve the problem,” Councilor Heather Porreca said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It is not going to provide them the safe traveling that they need to do.”

Porreca chairs the Traffic and Transportation committee of the council, and said she did extensive research before recommending against the crosswalk. In a phone interview with Eyewitness News, she said she believed the crosswalk would give the nuns a false sense of security because of the limited visibility and speed limit on Park Street.

“We are all sympathetic,” Porreca said. At the meeting, she and other councilors suggested alternatives such as a traffic light, lighted signs or a blinking light as safe options for the nuns–all of which would cost more than just a painted crosswalk.

“We’re in extreme budget times,” she said at the meeting. “I’m not saying that I’m trying to put a dollar sign on a person’s life.” She told Eyewitness News on Thursday that she plans to continue looking into how to improve pedestrian safety in the area.

The sisters were disappointed.

“We will see how the value of the money is more important than the value of the human being,” Sister Rasoarevao said. But the three had a positive attitude; they said they plan to wear safety vests and will use caution while crossing the street.

“We trust in God, that God will protect us,” Sister Kareng said.


Local News, Massachusetts, News, SE Mass, Top Video, Weather, Winter Weather

February Nor’easter: Blizzard conditions confirmed in New Bedford

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StormBeat: Blizzard-like conditions pummel Southern New England »

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI/AP) – New Bedford has announced that public schools will be closed again on Friday.

Gov. Charlie Baker urged people to stay off Massachusetts roads as the biggest snowstorm of the winter moves across the state throughout the day.

The National Weather Service confirmed that it’s officially a blizzard that hit New Bedford. Eyewitness News Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo said New Bedford was among several communities that had met blizzard criteria.

Feb. 9 Nor'easter collage
Photos: February Nor’easter

Eyewitness News Reporter Steph Machado reported that the wind was so strong at times, it practically knocked her over.

Massachusetts activated its emergency management bunker in Framingham to coordinate the response to the storm that’s expected to drop a foot or more of snow in some areas. The National Weather Service even issues a blizzard warning for coastal areas south of Boston.

The Republican said Thursday roads need to be clear so plows and sanders can do their work and emergency vehicles can make their way around.

Hundreds of departures from Logan Airport were canceled and airport officials were urging travelers to check with their airline. The state’s utilities were preparing for power outages and the state’s court system closed for the day.

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Police: Quincy officer fired shots, threatened to kill police

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RAYNHAM, Mass. (WPRI) — The 18-year veteran of the Quincy Police Department who engaged in a standoff with police Monday night threatened to kill officers and fired two shots at a door when he knew an officer was on the other side, a Raynham police report said.

The report obtained by Eyewitness News details the situation that unfolded on Britton Street that resulted in a three-hour armed standoff between Officer Keith Wilbur and the Raynham-Taunton SWAT team, along with Massachusetts State Police and other police departments.

According to the police report, Wilbur’s wife called police Monday night to report him missing, fearing for his safety. While on the phone with Raynham police, Wilbur returned home and become angry that his wife called the police. He barricaded himself in his basement, where police say he keeps 74 firearms registered to his name.

Quincy Police Officer Keith Wilbur
Quincy Police Officer Keith Wilbur

Officer Frank Pacheco writes in the report that he talked to Wilbur, who was apparently drunk, through the basement door, trying to get him come out. Pacheco writes, “Keith continued to yell and swear and tell me not to come down the stairs or he would murder me. I then heard the sounds of a firearm being loaded.”

Police say Wilbur shot two rounds up the stairs into the basement door, with Officer Pacheco on the other side.

After a three-hour standoff in which police say Wilbur periodically left the home armed with a rifle, Wilbur surrendered to the police. He was charged with armed assault with intent to murder, threatening to commit a crime, carrying a firearm under the influence of liquor, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling and destruction of property.

He appeared in Taunton District Court for an arraignment Tuesday afternoon, remaining hidden behind a door. A dangerousness hearing was set for Friday, when the matter of his bail will also be determined.

Officer Keith Wilbur peers through the glass in a door as he hid from view during his arraignment at Taunton Trial Court. (Photo: Mike Gay/Taunton Gazette)
Officer Keith Wilbur peers through the glass in a door as he hid from view during his arraignment at Taunton District Court. (Photo: Mike Gay/Taunton Gazette)

Wilbur’s mother, who only identified herself as Cindy, briefly defended her son outside court.

“It’s not as bad as people are making it out to be,” she said. “My son is not like that.”

Wilbur’s defense attorney Josh Werner said he doesn’t believe his client has a mental health issue and that the incident was likely stress-related.

“Being a cop these days is not an easy job,” Werner said. “There are an amazing number of stressors that we as general citizens can’t even believe to understand what they go through on a daily basis.”

Werner said he would more fully explain Wilbur’s side of the story at Friday’s hearing.

Wilbur has been suspended from the Quincy Police Department with pay pending an investigation. He’s been with the force for 18 years. Before that, according to his mother, Wilbur served in the United States Air Force.

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