Teen Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter
Adam Martin, 19, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Salem Superior Court today in connection with the March 17, 2011 death of James Vernazzaro of Beverly. Judge Howard Whitehead sentenced him to 12 to 15 years in state prison followed by 5 years of probation.
Had the case proceeded to trial, Essex Assistant District Attorney Kristen Buxton would have introduced evidence and testimony to prove that Martin, armed with an aluminum bat, went along with Sajan Christensen, 20, to fight Vernazzaro at Balch Park on Cabot Street in Beverly. Martin struck Vernazzaro with an aluminum bat two times. Christensen was heard threatening Martin to help him fight Vernazzaro. The Commonwealth alleges that Christensen fatally stabbed Vernazzaro in the heart.
Members of Mr. Vernazzaro’s family, who was two days away from turning 27 at the time of his death, gave victim impact statements to the court. They were provided victim services from Essex Victim Witness Advocate Deborah Dunn.
Beverly Police Detective Jeff Liacos and Massachusetts State Police Trooper Robert LaBarge led the investigation. Mr. Martin was represented by Attorney Jeffrey Karp.