The second man arrested in connection with the Sept. 6 shooting of a Woburn police officer during a jewelry store robbery pleaded not guilty Friday morning in
Hector Baez-Cruz, 21, of Boston, was held on $500,000 cash bail or $5 million surety bond.
Assistant District Attorney Marian Ryan told the court Baez-Cruz admitted to his role in the robbery but the defense denies that.
Woburn Officer Robert DeNapoli was shot during the robbery. He has since been and is recovering from his injuries.
DeNapoli was not at the arraignment but the courtroom was packed with about two dozen police officers.
Chilling Details of the Shooting Emerge
According to Ryan, Baez-Cruz and Matos gained entry into Musto Jewelers when a third, female suspect was buzzed into the locked storefront.
"As soon as the door was buzzed open, the two individuals [Matos and Baez-Cruz]...forced their way into the jewelry store," said Ryan.
They were able to grab $150,000 in jewelry, which they stuffed into a bag they brought, said Ryan. The two suspects then turned on the customers, demanding their cell phones, which Ryan said was an attempt to delay any police response. The store's landline was also disabled.
Ryan said the three suspects then left the second-floor store when they saw Officer DeNapoli pull up in his cruiser.
"He was immediately drawn on" by Matos, said Ryan.
Matos fired and hit DeNapoli, and then mounted the hood of the police cruiser and continued to fire shots at the stricken officer, according to Ryan. DeNapoli's index finger was shot off, and he lost grip of his own pistol. Now on the ground, DeNapoli sustained several more gunshot wounds in the exchange, according to Ryan.
At this point, Baez-Cruz and the female suspect ran across the street to a getaway car. Matos, trailing behind, couldn't reach the car before his alleged compatriots took off as more officers arrived on the scene.
Now on foot, Matos crossed into some backyards. Pursuing officers caught up with him and Matos fired on them, touching off a second gun battle, according to Ryan. One shot struck a passing car, she said.
The second firefight ended when police shot Matos behind a home on Lexington Street, said Ryan. He was then taken to Lahey Clinic for treatment. Ryan said Matos remains in a coma and his condition "continues to decline." The prosecutor said there is a "strong likelihood" Matos will not survive.
Prosecutor: Suspects Planned and Prepared for Robbery
Ryan said the evidence against Baez-Cruz include DNA samples from a mask found by police and identified by witnesses at the jewelry store. The DNA matches Baez-Cruz, said Ryan.
The suspects did not carry any identification or cell phones, and had made at least one test run before the day of the robbery, according to Ryan. She said that shows a pattern consistent with planning the robbery.
Ryan said Baez-Cruz confessed last night to his involvement in the robbery.
"He described in detail their reaction to seeing Officer DeNapoli," said Ryan.
Defense: Baez-Cruz Not the Shooter, Did Not Confess
An attorney representing Baez-Cruz said the facts presented by Ryan show that his client did not shoot DeNapoli. He also said Baez-Cruz did not confess to the crime, saying any alleged confession may have come from coercion or duress.
Baez-Cruz voluntarily spoke with police twice about what he knew about the robbery and shooting, according to his attorney. That shows a level of cooperation that the judge should consider when setting bail, he said.
The attorney also criticized Ryan's assertion that Baez-Cruz was a flight risk. He's an American citizen, and though he has family in the Dominican Republic, he stayed in the country while police spoke with him. He also has a girlfriend and 3-month-old son that he cares for.
Baez-Cruz also has no criminal record.
Beaz-Cruz Arrested Thursday Night
Woburn and State Police arrested Baez-Cruz on Thursday night. Both Boston Police and Boston Housing Police assisted in the arrest, according to a statement released by Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone. At the time of the arrest, Baez-Cruz was charged with armed robbery and assault with intent to murder.
The Thursday night statement said police have forensic evidence connecting Baez-Cruz to the at .
Another suspect, Antonio Matos, 25, of Boston, was shot by police during an intense manhunt after the late-morning robbery and shooting. Matos was . He remains in a coma and his arraignment has been postponed until he is well enough to appear in court.
Police say they believe Matos is the one who shot DeNapoli.