Two years after a pair of sociopaths ruthlessly stole the life a 14-year-old boy on Bowdoin Street, the slow gears of our legal system finally delivered a measure of justice for the family of Nicholas Fomby-Davis.
Last week, a jury of their peers took just four hours to hand down guilty verdicts to Joshua Fernandes and Crisostomo Lopes, who were 16 and 19, respectively, when they committed their heinous act of violence.
The murder of Nicholas was an atrocity. We’ve seen our share of cold-blooded killings, unfortunately, over many years of covering this city, but there was something especially sick and sinister about two teen-agers pulling a youngster off a motor-scooter and executing him point-blank steps from his home.
This was no accident, no kid who stumbled into the crossfire at the wrong place, wrong time. Nicholas was in his neighborhood, an innocent to be sure, doing what young teens should be able to do without predators seeking their blood on a late spring evening.
We are grateful for the swift, but considered, judgment of the jurors in this case, who listened to and then rejected the outrageous arguments by one of the defense attorneys, Rosemary Scappichio, who sought to free her client, Fernandes, by casting aspersions on Anthony Williams, the off-duty Boston police officer who saw the murder unfold and took fast action to help catch the two responsible.
Every defendant is entitled to a robust defense, but the attempt to cast Williams in a negative light was a step too far. Thankfully, these jurors saw the ploy for what is was: a desperate move by a guilty man.
Williams, who sensed the trouble brewing at the corner of Olney Street that day, couldn’t save Nicholas. But, his dedication to duty was essential to the fast arrests and ultimate convictions in this case and he deserves our collective appreciation.
Fernandes, who was the gunman in this assassination, may get a new sentencing hearing as a result of the Supreme Court decision this week, which ruled against the mandatory sentencing guidelines for juveniles in murder cases that were in place in Massachusetts and elsewhere.
But we have no doubt that Judge Patrick Brady, who handed down last Friday’s life-without-parole sentences to the two murderers, would have done the same with or without the now-voided sentencing guidelines. Any jurist would have, given the facts of this case.
Nicholas’s heartbroken dad, Nathaniel Davis Sr., captured the mood of our community when he spoke angrily at the sentencing hearing last Friday. Speaking to the killers, he said, “I’ve shown nothing but love for people. And you’re going to do that to my son? Two years older than my son, you should have been showing him how to play basketball or something.
“When are you going to cut it out? When are you all going to cut it out? We didn’t have anything to do with all that Hatfield and McCoys between the families … We didn’t do nothing wrong, nothing to you, not a damned thing.”
Amen. Here’s hoping Mr. Davis and his family find some solace in knowing that their son’s killers — Fernandes and Lopes— will be forever scorned by all in this neighborhood.
– Bill Forry