DA Conley: Steven Odom's killer was also murdered; 2nd man charged

Steven OdomSteven OdomA 19 year-old Mattapan man has been indicted for his role in the 2007 murder of 13 year-old Steven Odom, a crime that stunned the neighborhood. Suffolk County DA Daniel Conley today announced that the teen who allegedly pulled the trigger - Charles Bunch, Jr. - was himself the victim of a homicide in Mattapan 10 days after Odom was killed.

Below is the full press release from Conley's office:

BOSTON, April 4, 2009-Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley today delivered the following remarks on the indictment of DAVID JOHNSON (D.O.B. 8/20/89) of Mattapan in connection with the Oct. 4, 2007, homicide of 13-year-old Steven Odom:

"Two worlds collided on the night of Oct. 4, 2007, when 13-year-old Steven Odom was shot to death just feet from his Evans Street home. One was the world occupied by Steven Odom. The other was occupied by the people who caused his death.

"Yesterday, the Suffolk County Special Grand Jury yesterday returned a six-count indictment in connection with that tragic and pointless collision.

"The indictments do not charge Steven's killer. Today, we are announcing that Steven's killer was CHARLES BUNCH, Jr. (D.O.B. 7/7/89), who himself was shot to death 10 days later on Oct. 14. Though he will never go to trial, we're taking the unprecedented step of announcing that the evidence we've developed would support his conviction for Steven's homicide.

"In short, if Charles Bunch, Jr., were alive today, we would be announcing his indictment for first-degree murder.

"Instead, the indictments handed down yesterday charge DAVID JOHNSON (D.O.B. 8/20/89) of Mattapan with being an accessory before the fact to Steven's murder, being an accessory after the fact to Steven's murder, and unlawful possession of the firearm that killed him. Johnson is also charged as an accessory before the fact to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and possession of ammunition. He was arrested at his home about 3:00 yesterday afternoon and will be arraigned Monday in Suffolk Superior Court.

"The charges carry a potential life sentence.

"Our investigation was led by Chief Trial Counsel Patrick Haggan and the Boston Police homicide squad led by Sgt. Det. Dan Duff. It has developed the following facts. They are facts that could not be determined in the course of a shoe-leather investigation, and they're a reminder of the power of our Special Grand Jury to develop, test, and corroborate evidence in complex investigations.

"In October 2007, David Johnson and Charles Bunch were members of a group associated with Delhi Street in Mattapan. They were engaged in an ongoing feud with another group associated with Thetford Avenue about a mile away.

"Shortly before 8:00 p.m. on Oct. 4, Steven Odom was walking home on Evans Street, a short distance from Thetford Ave, with two friends. Bunch drove past them and mistook one of those friends for a Thetford Avenue rival. Bunch called Johnson and told him he needed a gun to "handle" that rival.

"As he had on previous occasions ending in violence against Thetford Avenue associates, Johnson provided Bunch with the murder weapon, a .357 Colt Python revolver with the knowledge and shared intent that it be used to kill a rival. Bunch returned to Evans Street, where saw Steven and his friend, and emptied the gun at them.

"One of the bullets in that barrage struck Steven in the head, killing just feet from his home.

"Shortly after shooting Steven Odom, Bunch returned the murder weapon to Johnson and admitted his actions. Johnson, in turn, gave the gun to another Delhi Street associate.

"In the aftermath of the shooting, Bunch drove past the scene and saw what he had done. Rather than express remorse that an innocent child was dead, he made statements in the days that followed equating Steven's death to a mere casualty.

"Ten days after Steven was killed, Bunch himself was shot to death on Orlando Street. There is no evidence to suggest that Bunch was murdered because of his role in Steven Odom's murder. Our investigation into Bunch's homicide remains open and we have committed the same resources to solving it as we do every murder on Boston's streets.

"As prosecutors, our job is to see that justice is done in a courtroom, not on the street. What happened to Charles Bunch when he was gunned down wasn't justice - it was homicide. And more to the point of today's announcement, it cheated Mr. and Mrs. Odom of the right to see their son's killer held to answer for the life he took.

"The murder of Charles Bunch, Jr., doesn't alleviate the tragedy of Steven Odom's murder -- it compounds it.

"Every life has meaning. Every life has value. But the lives of children are especially precious because they hold such promise and potential. I've met Rev. Odom and Ms. Odom many times. I've seen the kind of parents they are, the kind of family Steven had, and I'm certain he would have grown up to be a force for good in his community. We lost much more than a 13-year-old boy. We lost the good man he would have become.

"Steven's memory urges us as a city to turn away from the twisted code of conduct that took his life. It demands we confront the epidemic of young men who turn guns on other young men with no regard for who gets hurt. It tells us that silence to protect violent offenders should not be a point of pride but a mark of shame.

"It's clear from our investigation that two worlds collided on Evans Street that night - the world of Steven Odom, an innocent young boy on his way from playing ball to meet a curfew, and the world of a violent gang feud that threatens every good and decent family in our city. It's a war that has to end before we bury another Steven Odom, another Trina Persad, or another Malik Andrade-Percival."




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