Tag Archives: police

Murder Still a Mystery, One Year Later

3 Jan

 

District Attorney Marian Ryan steps aside at a Thursday press conference in Woburn so Elizabeth Dobbins can speak on the one-year anniversary of the death of her brother, Paul Wilson. (Photo: Tom Meek)

On the one-year anniversary of the killing of Paul Wilson, 60, in Danehy Park, law enforcement officials gathered at the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Woburn on Thursday to assure the public they continue to investigate – and to ask again for the public’s help in finding the killer.

Joining them was Wilson’s sister, Elizabeth Dobbins, who reflected on Wilson as big man with a big heart, and a man who valued family and friends. “He could connect with anyone and everyone,” she said, calling his death “incomprehensible and senseless.”

While there was little new to be revealed by District Attorney Marian Ryan and Cambridge police Deputy Superintendent Leonard DiPietro, it was made clear that a bat found at the scene of the crime was not used to kill Wilson.

“There is nothing that connects this item with the crime,” officials said. “A search of the park following the attack resulted in the collection of several samples of biological matter. Forensic testing has been conducted indicating that some of the blood found at the scene was animal blood; testing on further biological evidence remains ongoing.”

An image of Paul Wilson released Thursday by law enforcement officials.

Videos given to police by people in the area have not provided any answers, and Ryan said hundreds of park neighbors and visitors have been interviewed. “By revisiting this anniversary today, we are reminding the community of this crime and reinforcing the need for cooperation and information from the general public,” DiPietro added.

It was also noted that since the attack on Wilson, “investigators have also been made aware of some similar incidents that have occurred in Cambridge and other communities” but are not connected to his death, they said. “He was also found with his belongings on him, including an Apple Watch – suggesting robbery was not the motive.”

On Jan. 2, 2019, Wilson returned from work at IBM to the Porter Square T station and rode a Blue Bike home, parking it by his house on Sherman Street before walking through the park,  investigators said. Wilson was found by a passer-by shortly before 6:48 p.m. on an asphalt path near the Danehy Park parking lot and dumpsters, near New Street. He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and pronounced dead from blunt force trauma at around 10:18 p.m. 

“There’s no reason to believe the crime didn’t take place where the body was found [and] there’s more reason to believe it did,” Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr. said at a public meeting a year ago. “Mr. Wilson was found right under working lights in a well-lit area. That wasn’t the problem.”

The discussion of motive was similar to what was discussed a year ago.  Wilson was “brutally murdered,” Bard said, and Ryan said at the time that there was no reason to believe the intention of the attack, in which “most of the blows were to the top of the head,” was a robbery. 

The death continues to be investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, state police assigned there and by Cambridge police. “We have made some progress but have not ye identified a suspect,” Ryan said Thursday, renewing a call for anyone with information about the incident to call (781) 897-6600.

People with information are also invited to call Cambridge Police at (617) 349-3300. Anonymous reports can be left at (617) 349-3359; sent by text message to 847411 (begin your text with TIP650, then type your message); or by email by visiting CambridgePolice.org/Tips.

Remembering a solid citizen

12 Jan

Paul Wilson: Big guy with an even bigger heart whose memory will outlast headlines’ violence

The life of Paul Wilson, 60, will be celebrated Jan. 26 in Danvers. (Photos courtesy of Cindy Amor)

Last week a brutal crime took from our city one of its kindest, gentlest souls. Paul Wilson, 60, was a stand-up human: generous, respectful, friendly and imbued with a deep sense of humor.

I knew Paul on and off for two decades but didn’t know of his death until the day after the Jan. 2 assault on him in Danehy Park, which has yet to be solved. I was in New York on a business trip when my wife texted and told me to check the news back home. The thing that struck me in all the reports was the prominent underscoring of Paul’s appearance – 6-foot-6, and wearing shorts and a red winter jacket in the dreary cold of the New England winter.

Anyone who ever met Paul knew that wearing shorts in the dead of winter was his thing. I never asked Paul why he did it, because as a guy who wore shorts well into November and slapped them on after the first thaw, I got it. And it was shorts and not our mutual employment at Lotus/IBM that brought us together. I was playing Ultimate Frisbee at Danehy Park, where Paul was on his usual evening walk, and he paused to take in our game. He approached to ask about the rules and I said, “Hey, you’re the only guy in the office who wears shorts more than me.” We learned that we lived close by and, when IBM shipped us both 30 miles west to Littleton, sometimes commuted together. I’m a talker, and so was Paul – we talked some politics, and at the time of our commutes we were both going through the loss of our parents. He also loved good food and off-the-beaten path establishments that stood the test of time. The Out of the Blue restaurant in Davis Square was a favorite of his, and we often had a post-commute snack at the under-the-radar Italian eatery Gran Gusto, across from his apartment, or a beer at Paddy’s Lunch just up the street. 

Paul Wilson in a Danvers High School yearbook.

In reaching out to other people for this piece, including Carla Bekeritis and Cindy Amor, who went to Danvers High with Paul, the unanimous sentiment was that he was a deeply loved and valued member of the community. Paul attended the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and studied music, but like many from that era with creative leanings and sharp minds, he found his way into software and worked for IBM for nearly 30 years.

I last saw Paul three days before the new year on Massachusetts Avenue outside Changsho restaurant – it was 20-something degrees out, but he was wearing shorts and telling me proudly that he was now a card-carrying member of the Blue Bikes share; IBM had landed him back in Cambridge for work, and that was his new means of commuting. We made a pledge to get together soon. Soon would obviously not be soon enough.

Paul was a big guy, with an even bigger heart. Justice and closure on the mystery of his death can’t come soon enough. Still, though the nature of the crime may be what seizes headlines, in time that will fade and his memory will carry on in the hearts of those he touched. 

A celebration of Paul’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 26 at the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, 323 Locust St., Danvers. Expressions of sympathy may be made in Paul’s memory to Doctors Without Borders.

A community meeting about the homicide investigation and safety concerns is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Peabody School, 70 Rindge Ave., North Cambridge. Representatives of the City Manager’s Office, Cambridge Police Department, and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office will be on hand for questions.

Patriots Day

19 Dec

Wahlberg’s Dramatized ‘Patriots Day’ Won’t Suture Any Wounds

Mark Wahlberg as fictional BPD Sergeant Tommy Saunders in "Patriots Day." (Courtesy CBS Films)

So here comes the big cinematic rendering of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that rocked the city for the better part of a week and now seems destined to be etched into our collective history just below city-defining headliners like the Boston Tea Party, busing in the ‘70s and the murderous legacy of Whitey Bulger.

The good news about “Patriots Day,” which opens Wednesday, is that it delivers a modicum of cathartic release as well as an intriguing look behind the scenes as an active crime investigation takes shape. The bad news, however, is that it knowingly injects fiction into the mix in a way that nearly subverts the project’s mission of “getting it right,” as Boston-bred star and producer Mark Wahlberg has said repeatedly. In the process, the dramatization shortchanges those that were there — the heroes and the victims — and the character of our fair city.

Three screenwriters, including the director Peter Berg, are credited with the script. The studio’s publicists informed me that the sources ranged from conversations with the Boston Police Department and other local agencies that responded to news reports and “60 Minutes.” What they’ve cooked up feels like a cobbling together of news feeds condensed and sanitized into a singular heroic narrative that regularly brims with the Boston Strong motto.

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