Court upholds man's life sentence for murdering a teen on Bowdoin Street in 2010

The Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a man convicted of fatally shooting Nicholas Fomby-Davis, 14, on Bowdoin Street - as his friend held the teen - got a fair trial and that police did nothing wrong in the way they questioned him, but that his sentence should be amended to allow for the possibility of parole because he was only 16 at the time.

Joshua Fernandes, then a member of the Homes Avenue gang, was sentenced to life without possibility of parole in 2012 after a jury convicted him and fellow gang member Crisostomo Lopes, also 16 at the time of Fomby-Davis's death, of first-degree murder.

But in 2013, the state's highest court ruled that life without the possibility of parole for minors convicted of first-degree murder is cruel and unusual punishment. The court's ruling today sends Fernandes's case back to Superior Court for a modification of his sentence to allow for the possibility of parole.

Lopes's first-degree sentence was upheld in 2018.

According to the court's summary of the case, Fomby-Davis and his older brother were riding a scooter around their block on the evening of May 30, 2010, when they almost collided with a guy on a bicycle who darted into the street in front of them. That guy, Fernandes, went and got Lopes and when they returned to Bowdoin, they found Fomby-Davis still riding around on the scooter while his brother was going upstairs to get some money to get something to eat at a nearby fast-food place.

"When the victim passed by on the scooter, Lopes darted out into the street, grabbed the victim,and beckoned to the defendant. The defendant approached, removed a gun from his pocket, and shot the victim three or four times at close range. ...

"The victim stumbled from the middle of the street into a nearby store, where he fell to the ground and started shaking. He was gasping for air and had blood on his shirt. Hew as carried outside to the sidewalk, where another police officer who arrived on scene attempted to revive him as he passed in and out of consciousness. Paramedics arrived and treated the victim,but by that point he showed no signs of life,and he was pronounced dead on reaching the hospital.The victim had suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, near his left armpit, and on his right thigh."

An off-duty member of the Boston Police Department gang unit spotted Fernandes and Lopes skulking around and looking like they were up to no good, so he pulled over to observe them - just as they grabbed Fomby-Davis and murdered him, before the cop could get out of his car.

Among the reasons Fernandes's lawyer gave for overturning the verdict was that a Suffolk County prosecutor used his juror challenges to keep young people off the jury. The court ruled, however, that unlike race or gender, age is not something a lawyer can't use as a reason to exclude somebody from a jury.



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