The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on April 24, 1992 · 34
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 34

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Friday, April 24, 1992
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34 THE BOSTON GLOBE FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 1992 ;awam bids farewell to murdered teacher's aide By Jean Caldwell SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AGAWAM - More than 900 mourners crowded into Sacred Heart Church yesterday to say goodbye to 24-year-old Lisa Ziegert, whose body was found Easter Sunday, four days after she vanished from the card shop where she worked. Many wore the white ribbons that had been passed out at all 12 of Agawam's churches after the teacher's aide disappeared. Before her body was discovered, the ribbons were intended as a symbol of hope that she would be found safe, and to show support for her family. The lilies that decorated the altar for the Easter celebration of Christ's resurrection were still there as townspeople, many with eyes reddened from weeping, filed in silent- iy. Children came with solemn faces. Young women embraced each other for solace. Gray-haired women knelt stiffly before sliding into the crowded pews. State and town officials sat with family members. At police headquarters a mile down the road, a team of 15 detectives continued to work around the clock to unravel the mystery of Ziegert's death. Investigators have kept confidential any leads they may have as they question everyone who knew Ziegert They have yet to determine who entered the Brittany Card and . Gift Shop between 8:21 p.m. and 9:05 p.m. April 15, stabbed Ziegert to death and left her body beside a dirt road in a wooded area some 2 miles away. . - - Pastor's homily But in Sacred Heart Church, the focus was on the mysteries of faith. Rev. Thomas Joyce told mourners, "So much of life we do not understand. There is so much that leaves us wondering. We stormed heaven and got an answer, not the answer we wished or hoped for. "I wish I could stand up here this morn ing and make clear why that answer came. I do not know, nor does anyone." The pastor said that the young woman's death "under such terrible circumstances" made a "wound which will take a long time to heal," but that the church's role was to change the focus to faith. He urged the congregation to "proclaim loudly and boldly" the faith that Lisa Ziegert had nourished in her religious education stu-dents during her life, the faith that tells "Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead." Throughout the Mass, parishioners wiped tears quietly from their eyes. The sobs became audible throughout the church when Deacon James Martone began to speak. He spoke of the happy memories he had of the smiling young woman he called "my band daughter" because Ziegert had been in the Agawam High School band with his daughter. He touched the stole he wore over his vestments and told how Ziegert and his daughter had made it for him. "It's not per fect, but it means an awful lot," he said. Band trips recalled He recalled accompanying the two girls on band trips, remembering how they would suggest a prayer service whenever a church was available. He talked about the many times he noticed children in the church as he was getting ready for Mass and realized that Lisa had brought in her Confraternity of Christian Doctrine class. "I would ask questions and when they didn't know the answers, they all looked up at her. She always had a beautiful smile," he said. Then Martone removed his stole, folded it carefully, and handed it to the family, saying: "This means a lot to me. A lot of love went into this." Springfield Bishop John Marshall and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dupre had joined Fr. Joyce at the altar along with Rev. Charles Gonet from St Catherine of Sienna Church in Springfield, where Ziegert was baptized; Rev. John Dean, chaplain at West-field State College, from which Ziegert grad uated cum laude; Rev. Kenneth Tatro, formerly stationed at Sacred Heart; and Rev. Albert Breton from St. Theresa's in Agawam. At Springfield Street Cemetery across the road, a spray of pink, blue and white flowers covered the gray coffin. There had been so many floral tributes that the funeral director had placed them on the grass in two long rows. The words of committal were said. The mourners were invited back to the parish hall to meet the family. Dianne and George Ziegert laid blue carnations on their daughter's casket. The pallbearers removed the red carnations from their lapels and placed them near-by. , Slowly, silently others came forward with flowers they had brought or plucked from the sprays on the ground, leaving the blossoms as a final tribute to the smiling woman with long dark hair who loved children and had dreamt of becoming a teacher. Restaurant patron is slain in attack D HOMICIDE Continued from Page 1 "This is a tragic incident of an individual who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time." The three men, all from Dorchester, charged with murdering Sar-jeant are: Lamar S. Johnson, 24, of Wyoming Street; Adriano Barros, 18, of Hamilton Street; and Aris-tedes V. Duarte, 17, of Pleasant Street. Duarte was also charged with possession of cocaine. 1 Sarjeant who lived on Washington Street, was pronounced dead at Boston City Hospital about 12:30 a.m. A beer bottle was thrown at the restaurant just before the attack, police and Toomer said. Sarjeant was standing near the counter with his back to the doorway when one of the attackers shouted, "Let's shut this sucker down," and the gang stormed into the store, police and Toomer said. A fourth customer was also inside, along with at least two employees, they said. Sarjeant was smashed on the head with a boom box, which was shattered by the impact. Sarjeant collapsed on the floor, where he was punched, kicked and stabbed repeatedly, police and Toomer said. i "We had no idea these kids were going to mess with us," said Toomer, who works with the Franklin Hill Tenant Task Force in an effort to reduce juvenile crime in that Dorchester housing development. Toomer said he eased out the door when the attack began, hoping to find a passing police cruiser. I; Once he got outside, Toomer said, some of the attackers noticed him. One shouted, "He's got a guitar, get him." Toomer said he was chased down Columbia Road to a bar at the corner of Stoughton Street and Columbia Road where he called police on a telephone. f Thursday number 4348 THURSDAY PAYOFFS (based on $1 bet) EXACT ORDER All 4 digits $5,866 First or last 3 $821 I Any 2 digits $70 Any 1 digit $7 ANT ORDER All 4 digits i $489 First 3 digits $274 i Last 3 digits $137 ' MASS CASH ! ADril 23: 2 7 18 23 35 1 Jackpot; $100,000 MEGABUCKS April 22: 22 25 27 36 37 38 Jackpot $3,315,320; There was ; no jackpot winner. I PREVIOUS MASS. DRAWINGS' j .. ; Wednesday 4242 7534 Tuesday - Monday 6544 Sunday 4068 Saturday 1204 THURSDAY NUMBERS AROUND NEW ENGLAND Maine, N.H, Vermont 3-digit 920 . 4-digit 3474 Rhode Island 7446 Connecticut 3-git 430 4-tfgit 1302 Toomer said that when he returned, he found Debra Sarjeant at her husband's side, screaming. "She was hysterical and he was lying in a pool of blood, unconscious. She was creaming, 'Why? Why him?'" said he had seen some of the attackers at the restaurant recently, but did not know them well. Toomer said it appeared to him that they were trying to strike at the restaurant and its owners. "It seems like the anger was directed at the restaurant, but they couldn't get to the restaurant, the owner, because they were behind the counter," he said. "So I guess we were the next target." Sarjeant did not exchange words with the group, Toomer said. "He didn't have time," Toomer said. "His back was turned when they came in. "It was not a robbery. I had money in my hand," he added. "I had a twenty-six-hundi'ed-dollar guitar on my shoulder. I had my jewelry; I had my chains on. "It was just random, unprovoked. A vicious, brutal attack." Toomer compared it to the gruesome gang rape and murder of Kim-berly Rae Harbour that occurred in Franklin Field on Halloween night, 1990. "Hers happened at night in the park. This happened on a main drag inside a place of business," he said. The owners of Tasty Chicken said they have had trouble before with neighborhood toughs, including those believed to be involved in the killing. In the four or five months they have run the restaurant, they said, they had called police several times a week to handle everything from fights and arguments to a robbery. They also had a phone call several months ago from someone who threatened to kill them if they did not close down, they said. Police are investigating if there is a connection between the threats and Sarjeant's murder. Evans said the three defendants were arrested within a half-hour of the attack, and that they were taken back to the scene and identified by witnesses. ' Y i J BOSTON I V 1 SCHOOl - I T" GLOBE STAFF PHOTO SUZANNE KREITER Khalim Foster, brother-in-law of slaying victim Charleston L Sarjeant, talks with reporters in Dorchester. Evans said there were "conflicting reports" about whether they were members of street gangs. All three pleaded innocent to first-degree murder in Dorchester District Court where Judge James W. Dolan sot bail at $100,000 cash for each. The three were detained yesterday. Dolan said Barros was also known to Dorchester court officials as John Miranda. Defense attorneys sharply attacked the bare outline of the crime offered by Assistant District Attorney John Diamond 3d at the arraignment, arguing that Diamond had provided no evidence positively linking the defendants to the crime. William Doyle, Duarte's attorney, said his short, slightly built client was 17 years old, but had the appearance of a 12- or 13-year-old boy. "This boy is scared to death," Doyle said. Johnson, Duarte and Barros were interviewed by homicide detectives and each gave tape-recorded statements, defense attorneys said. Duarte and Barros acknowledged they had been in the neighborhood, but denied that they had been in the store or had participated in the attack. The sneakers of all three men were seized by Boston police for evidence - sneaker prints were found in the pools of Sarjeant's "blood - as were pieces of the stereo player that was smashed against the man's head. Sarjeant's relatives called the victim a quiet family man deeply committed to his music. "I feel hurt I feel angry. I feel scared," said Michelle Foster of Lynn, Debra Sarjeant's sister, standing in front of the brick apartment building that was Sarjeant's home. "Charleston was the last person whom you would think would die this kind of death. When you talk about the word 'meek' ... he was a family man," Foster said. Foster's husband, Khalim, said his brother-in-law had graduated in 1986 from Boston High School. I 1 L ......... A family photo shows Charleston L Sarjeant Debra Sarjeant a native of Trinidad and a Boston Technical High School graduate, met her husband through their mutual interest in music in high school, family members said. The couple have been married about six years and have three children, ages 1 to 4. Fearful owners say restaurant won't reopen By Tom Coakley and John EHement GLOBE STAFF Frustrated at the seeming inability of officials to quell their troubles and fearful for their safety, the owners of Tasty Chicken, scene of an apparently unprovoked slaying early yesterday, said they will not reopen the Uphams Corner restaurant The Pakistani immigrants who own the fast-food establishment said the murder of Charleston L. Sarjeant was the tragic nilmination of continuing trouble since they began operations four months ago, including fights, vandalism, threats and a robbery. "We've had lots of problems here," said Shahid Butt, one of the owners, who was behind the counter waiting on customers when Sarjeant was killed. The kids, they sell drugs . in this neighborhood. It's like candy. "They carry guns and knives." The neighborhood surrounding the intersection of Columbia Road, Stoughton and Dudley streets has for years been seen by many in Boston as a symbol of potent but unrealized hopes for neighborhood revival. For more than a decade and through two mayoral administrations, money and effort have been spent some say in vain, to bring this section of Dorchester back from urban decay. Like the Tasty Chicken owners, many residents and community leaders have complained in the past few years that not enough is being done to eradicate rampant drug dealing that has held the neighborhood back. Deputy Supt Paul Bankowski, . commander of Area C, said police, residents, business people and neighborhood activists have worked successfully in recent months to cut into the gang activity, drug dealing and other crime problem that have beset Uphams Comer. He said police have worked in small ways - for example, arresting eight people recently for trespassing in the Tasty Chicken and a Chinese restaurant - and in more obvious ways to increase the sense of security in the area. "All that hard work and effort that has taken place can be destroyed by one incident like the one that happened," he said. "We've been able to accomplish a lot in terms of that neighborhood." At the same time yesterday, while Butt and two other owners cleaned dried blood from their res- taurant floor, other Uphams Corner merchants and residents said crime in the neighborhood was not as severe as in the past Some see the change as a long-term trend; others as a short-term phenomenon. Older teen-agers and young men offer an intimidating presencl in the Uphams Corner vicinity at night some concede. The fear of crime imprisons many families in their homes. But acts of violence such as the attack - though not unheard of - are not the rule. "It doesn't surprise me," said James Jackson, who owns a block of stores on Dudley Street "But it doesn't happen all the time." Jackson described the lawlessness most prevalent in Uphams Corner as "penny ante" drug dealing and property crimes. Frank Oram, who runs the Strand Pharmacy across the street from Tasty Chicken, said he has no trouble in his store and that the neighborhood environment has improved since the 1970s, when it was plagued by robberies and burglaries.. The last time the pharmacy was robbed was 19S5, he said. And Elizabeth King, a lfeighbor- Suspects innocent, kin say Carrie Johnson sat on the steps of Dorchester District Court yesterday afternoon, expressing sadness for the family of Charleston L. Sarjeant but also declaring an adamant belief that her son had nothing to do with Sarjeant's death. Lamar S. Johnson, 24, was arrested by Boston police early yesterday after witnesses to Sarjeant's murder at the Tasty Chicken restaurant in Uphams Corner positively identified him, Superintendent Paul Evans said. "He will try to stop a fight, if he can," Johnson said of her son, adding that he had taken karate lessons for several years. But, she said, he would not start a fight She said her son opposes street gangs and cocaine use. Last weekend, she said, her son was baby-sitting his younger sister while his parents visited friends in New Jersey. A graduate of Boston High School, Johnson is the father of a 5-year-old boy, who lives with his longtime girlfried, Sonya Suarez, who also attended court yesterday. Not far from the courthouse, meanwhile, Lucilia Duarte, sister of Aristedes Duarte, also a defendant in the murder case, maintained her brother's innocence. "He's not the type who would do something like that" Duarte said,, standing on the third-floor landing of the triple-decker where she lives with her brother and the rest of their family on Pleasant Street A native of Cape Verde, Duarte had never been in trouble with the law, did not take drugs or carry a knife or gun, said his sister. But, according to court records, Duarte was arraigned in Roxbury District Court earlier this year as a juvenile charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. John Amabile, attorney for Adriano Barros, the third suspect in custody, said his client was a native of Cape Verde who moved to Boston seven years ago. Barros, 18, is an 11th grader at West Roxbury High School and lives in Dorchester with his mother and two sisters. Barros is also known to Dorchester court officials as John Miranda. JOHNELLEMENT and TOM COAKLEY Site of killing j f DORCHESTER 12 me s. ' JVC! jfcw GL08E STAFF MAP hood resident who works at the pharmacy, also sees an improvement She credited civilian patrols in. the neighborhood as part of the reason. "The kids, they don't hang around like they used to," she sai "And there's not as much killing as there was last summer or the sum7 mer before." k

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