Grand jury underway in Tuttle St. murder

Six months after a young man was found fatally stabbed in a Tuttle St. apartment, no arrests have been made, but a Suffolk County grand jury investigation is underway into the case.

Daniel Yakovleff, 20, of Roxbury, was found stabbed to death on Jan. 17 in the third floor apartment at 56 Tuttle St. Since then, little information has been released about the murder.

The third floor tenant, Steven Odegard, told police he had picked up two men at the Eagle bar in the South End and taken them back to his apartment. He has said he called police the following morning after finding the alleged third man gone and Yakovleff dead.

"There's really nothing new. The police are working on it," said Yakovleff's mother, Peggy Rux, who lives in Ashford, Conn., with Yakovleff's father, Nord. "I understand they can't tell us anything, but it's frustrating."

Odegard's attorney, John Swomley, did not return phone calls seeking comment for this article. In late January, he told Bay Windows, a newspaper serving New England's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population, that his client is innocent. "I know my client has cooperated fully with the police up to this point, told them everything he knows and has denied all involvement in the stabbing of this guy," he said.

But a grand jury investigation into the homicide is taking place, confirmed a source familiar with the case, though no timeline has been established of when any arrests or indictments could come down.

A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley's office declined to confirm or deny the grand jury investigation, but said the homicide investigation remained "very active."

Conley spokesman Jake Wark asked for anyone with any information surrounding Yakovleff's death to call the Boston Police Department's "CrimeStopper Hotline" at 1-800-494-TIPS.

Suffolk County has two active grand juries, each comprised of 23 men or women, which look into various cases several times a year. Police officials say they are investigating the case purely as a homicide, with no apparent evidence of a hate crime having taken place.

Friends and family of Yakovleff held a fundraiser on June 30 to raise money for a scholarship in Yakovleff's name at the Blaine Academy in Boston, which he had graduated from.

Rux said they raised about $4,000, with stylists at Liquid Hair Studios on Tremont St., where Yakovleff had worked, providing haircuts in exchange for $20 donations.

Separately, a number of Boston-area bar owners with ties to the gay community met in late June with city officials and police officers to tackle the rise in reports of gay hate crimes.

"We're trying to be proactive. We just wanted to bring them in and make sure the patrons are safe," said Bruce Holloway, superintendent chief of the Bureau of Investigative Services. "They have the nexus of the community. We're not blaming them. We thought it's just a good way to focus our information."

City officials also cautioned bar owners against over-serving and stressed that owners would not get in trouble if they initiated a call.

Reports of hate crime-related attacks rose to 56 attacks in 2007 from 24 attacks in 2003, according to police. Nineteen have been reported so far in 2008.




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