For Immediate Release - July 05, 2011

SIX CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH 2009 LAWRENCE MURDER

Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett and Lawrence Police Chief John Romero today announced the indictments of five people for first degree murder in connection with the January 10, 2009, shooting death of Roberto Gonzalez, 20, of Lawrence. The five defendants were secretly indicted last week by an Essex County Grand Jury.

In addition, Maribel Villafane, 25, of 114 Ames Street, Lawrence, was secretly indicted last week on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder, and misleading an investigation.

This afternoon in Salem Superior Court, Francis Wyatt, 29, of 12 Woodland Court, Lawrence, and Cauris Gonzalez, 22, of 9 Tower Street, Methuen, pleaded not guilty to first degree murder. Judge Robert Cornetta ordered them held without bail, and continued their cases until July 25 for a pre-trial conference and further bail hearing.

Villafane, pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder and misleading an investigation, and was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail. She, too, will return to court on July 25 for a pre-trial conference and further bail hearing.

Also charged with first degree murder are Yoshio Stackerman, 26, of Lawrence, who is currently serving a sentence at MCI Cedar Junction for drug distribution, and Thomas Castro, 29, of Lawrence, who is currently serving a state prison sentence in Concord, NH.

Stackerman will be arraigned tomorrow in Salem Superior Court, and Castro will be arraigned on a date to be determined.

The final defendant charged with first degree murder is Joel Javier, 26, of 121 Saratoga Street, Lawrence. He remains at large, and police are asking anyone with information regarding his whereabouts to contact them.

The indictments came as the result of a continuing investigation by Lawrence Police and State Police detectives assigned to District Attorney Blodgett's Office. Police said information from the community played an important role in obtaining the indictments.

Gonzalez was shot at about 6 p.m. as he sat in his minivan on Hampton Street in Lawrence. He was transported to Lawrence General Hospital where he died.

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