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Boston police eye unsolved cases after detectives 'dropped ball'

Detectives failed to arrest a "person of interest" in the murder of Amy Lord; causing police to re-examine past files

By Erin Smith
Boston Herald

BOSTON — Police are scouring all unsolved cases for loose ends in a widening probe that comes after Boston brass revealed detectives failed to arrest a "person of interest" in the Amy Lord murder even though they were handed his wallet and I.D. by a Roxbury woman brutally attacked last year.

"Because of what happened in this case we're doing a search of all our records for the last several years," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday. "We just don't want to have another case like this happen to us."

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis confirmed that police are reviewing open investigations for other possible cases in which detectives may have dropped the ball.

"As a result of this, I've sat down with all of the commanders of the various detective bureaus to go over all outstanding cases," Davis said. "I don't think there's a problem, but we do have to approach this both criminally and administratively."

The move comes a day after Davis announced his department would review assaults on women over the past several years since 28-year-old Edwin Alemany -- named "a person of interest" in Lord's murder and charged with two other attacks on Southie women -- has been out of jail.

Davis has said he's "disappointed" in the detective who failed to arrest Alemany last year after a 21-year-old Mission Hill woman was attacked from behind, thrown to the ground and choked unconscious. The woman gave police Alemany's wallet and I.D., but no charges were ever brought against him.

"My thoughts were, 'My God, why?' The system broke down and that system can't break down when there's an investigation of a person who committed a crime of such magnitude," Menino said.

Lord, 24, of Wilbraham was kidnapped near her Dorchester Street apartment about 6 a.m. Tuesday and driven to five ATMs to make withdrawals before she was stabbed and her body dumped at the Stony Brook Reservation in Hyde Park. Alemany hasn't been charged, but police consider him the only person of interest in the case.

Meanwhile, Boston Housing Authority officials are investigating whether Alemany, who has been in and out of jail since at least 2002, had been illegally squatting with a resident at the Old Harbor public housing complex, agency spokeswoman Lydia Agro said. Neighbors in the East 8th Street complex in Southie have said Alemany lived there with his girlfriend and a 4-year-old girl.

Alemany has an extensive rap sheet with 18 crimes as a juvenile and 34 crimes as an adult.

"In my opinion, these guys are cycling in and out of jail far too quickly and when they get out on the street, we own them," Davis said, citing problems policing repeat offenders.

Massachusetts has a "three strikes" law on the books that cracks down on violent repeat offenders, but that measure was only signed into law last year.

"This individual has received sentences each time over the years that have been approaching the maximum," said Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney's Office. "Whether those maximums need to be enhanced is something we're willing to look at."

Antonio Planas and Peter Gelzinis contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 the Boston Herald

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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