Savin Hill mom fights to block parole for son's killer

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Sep. 13, 2012

Derek Matulina: Shot to death at Savin Hill T station in May 2011.Derek Matulina: Shot to death at Savin Hill T station in May 2011.The mother of a 19-year-old Savin Hill man who was shot and killed at the MBTA station in 2011 is seeking to block the parole of her son’s murderer.

The Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association on Monday night unanimously voted to support Deirdre Murphy’s request for a letter asking the state Parole Board to deny parole for Nhu Nguyen. Local elected officials have also agreed to send letters, Murphy said.

Earlier this year, Nguyen pleaded guilty to manslaughter and firearms charges. In May, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a house of correction, with two years of probation to follow.

Nguyen, now 20, got into an argument with Derek Matulina and shot him, prosecutors said at the time. He was arrested in May 2011, after fleeing to Portland, Maine.

Nguyen spent time in between his arrest and his guilty plea in jail, which counts towards his sentence.

Over the summer, Murphy received a letter from the state Parole Board’s victim services unit, notifying her that Nguyen is “parole eligible,” meaning he can be considered for release from confinement and complete his sentence in the community under supervision.

“Please understand that parole eligibility only entitles an inmate to a parole hearing and does not guarantee parole release,” the letter said.

“I vomited” upon receiving the letter, Murphy said, expressing disbelief that Nguyen was already up for parole. “How can that be? He took a life.”

Nhu Nguyen: Convicted of shooting former friend to death during fight in May 2011.Nhu Nguyen: Convicted of shooting former friend to death during fight in May 2011.Nguyen, a Dorchester resident, was a former friend of Matulina who had a falling out, allegedly over drug proceeds. On May 7, the two encountered each other at the Savin Hill MBTA station, and despite a mutual friend intervening, tensions remained high at the scene. Matulina later hit Nguyen in the head with a padlock wrapped in a handkerchief. Nguyen pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Matulina in the chest, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said at the time.

According to the district attorney’s office and Assistant District Attorney Holly Broadbent, “video surveillance shows the defendant stepping back and firing one shot directly at the victim’s chest before fleeing the scene.”

In an interview after he was caught, Nguyen said he had shot Matulina, according to a Broadbent statement released by the district attorney’s office.

In the hours after the shooting, neighborhood residents traded rumors that they saw the shooter or witnesses dash down to a three-story home on Savin Hill Ave. While police later cast doubts on the home’s connection to the crime, the home’s bad reputation and the neighborhood’s shock over the shooting prompted Mayor Thomas Menino to set up a task force to deal with homes labeled “problem properties.”

The shooting had a “huge impact” on the community, Murphy said.

A parole hearing will be scheduled in the coming weeks. “You can be sure I will be there,” she told the Columbia-Savin Hill civic group.