BERRY FACES LONG PRISON SENTENCEBOSTON, Dec. 22, 2005 – A Suffolk Superior Court jury today convicted a 23-year-old Dorchester man of trying to kill four Boston Police officers, wounding two of them so badly that they retired from the force and missing another by only inches.
JERMAINE JABAR BERRY (D.O.B. 5/7/82) was found guilty of four counts of assault with intent to kill, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, and several related firearms charges for incidents in and around his mother’s Radcliffe Street apartment in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2003.
“We are grateful that these officers survived that horrible assault two years ago, and we are grateful, too, that the jury carefully considered the evidence in this case,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said. “But we are cognizant, too, of what was lost – two officers were severely wounded, their careers ended, and the sentence we will ask the judge to impose tomorrow will be commensurate with those facts. I commend the officers involved in this case – as victims, witnesses and investigators – and the staff of my office that worked to hold this defendant accountable.”
Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O’Toole: “The jury\’s verdict sends a strong message that violence, particularly gun violence, will not be tolerated in the City of Boston. I want to acknowledge the perseverance and courage of Sgt. Charles Byrne, Police Officers Robert Welby, Dennis Cogavin, and Robert Cappucci who were involved in this traumatic incident. Despite this verdict, the physical and emotional wounds suffered by these men and their families will continue forever. As always, I am proud of the dedication and diligent work done by every Boston Police officer involved in this case as well as the Suffolk County District Attorney\’s Office.”
Evidence introduced at trial by Assistant District Attorney David E. Meier showed that at about 5:30 a.m., Berry used a handgun wrapped in a white towel to threaten two guests at his mother’s New Year’s Eve celebration. Both victims ran from the home and one, Jacqueline Odware, flagged down a taxi and used the driver’s cell phone to call Boston Police.
Responding to the scene, Sgt. Charles Byrne and Officer Robert Welby knocked on the apartment’s front door and announced themselves as police officers. The defendant’s mother, Dawn Berry, allowed them entrance to the apartment and pointed them toward her son’s locked bedroom door. The officers were joined there by Officer Robert Cappucci, who also responded. Again announcing themselves as Boston Police, the three uniformed officers knocked several times on Berry’s door.
According to evidence and testimony, Berry opened the door holding a loaded .357 Ruger GP 100, which he fired at Byrne, hitting the veteran officer in the abdomen. As Byrne collapsed onto the floor, Berry then fired at Welby, striking him in the abdomen as well. As Cappucci attempted to provide medical assistance to his wounded sergeant, Berry took aim at him and fired a third bullet that passed through the pocket of his open jacket, missing his ribs and chest by inches.
Following these initial shots, Berry chased Welby out of the house and onto Radcliffe Street, firing on him and Officer Dennis Cogavin as both men sought cover behind a parked car. The officers fired back at Berry, hitting him in the upper chest and ending the attack.
Byrne and Welby were rushed to area hospitals where they underwent emergency surgery: Byrne was treated for gunshot injuries to the abdomen, while Welby was treated for wounds to several internal organs, including one of his kidneys and his lower intestine. Both men survived, but were forced by their injuries to retire from the Boston Police Department. Berry was treated at Beth Israel-Deaconness Medical Center for a single gunshot wound to his upper chest.
Berry had been indicted on charges of armed assault with intent to murder; in finding him guilty of the lesser included offense of assault with intent to kill, jurors concluded that Berry’s lethal intentions were mitigated by at least one of the following factors: sudden provocation, self-defense, mental impairment, or the heat of passion.
Judge Raymond Brassard revoked Berry’s bail and scheduled sentencing for tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. in courtroom 806 of Suffolk Superior Court, located in the Pemberton Square courthouse.