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Two charged with murder in shooting on subway

Two men were charged with first-degree murder yesterday in the subway shooting of a pregnant woman whose son died after a bullet sliced through her abdomen.

After spending seven months with witnesses reenacting the crime, law enforcement officials said they now have a "clear picture" of the moments of terror on the Orange Line train Feb. 5.

Authorities have had Andre Green, 19, of the South End, and Chimezie J. Akara, 20, of Roslindale, in custody on other charges since shortly after the shooting, but until yesterday had not charged them in the baby's death, as they sought to establish who fired a gun inside the MBTA train car as it traveled through Boston.

Adama Hawa Barry, a native of Guinea in West Africa who was 8 1/2 months pregnant with her first son, was riding home to Lynn around 7 p.m. after working at a hair salon in Jamaica Plain when she was shot. Witnesses told police of a passenger who warned others that a man aboard had a gun, but Barry, who speaks little English, may not have understood the warning.

At least two shots rang out, police said. After one of the bullets struck Barry, she was taken to Boston Medical Center, where the child was removed by caesarean section. He died about 45 minutes later; Barry survived. Officials said autopsy results showed that the baby had been struck by a bullet, and died as a result.

"We will speak for a child who never got a chance to speak for himself," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said yesterday as he announced the murder charges against Green and Akara. The two men are scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Boston Municipal Court.

"We have uncovered information that has given us a clear picture of what happened that night," said Conley, but he refused to describe what he called the "significant evidence" used to obtain murder charges against the men in Boston Municipal Court.

The two men also face charges for pointing guns at other passengers on the train, Conley said. He would not elaborate further on the case, citing the grand jury investigation into the killing. "The investigation is ongoing and I am not going to comment," Conley said.

Yesterday, he took the unusual step of asking the media not to publish or broadcast images of the two suspects that were taken when the men were arraigned earlier this year. He said publication of images of the two men could potentially undermine the legal weight of identifications made by witnesses to the crime.

Stephen J. Weymouth, Green's court-appointed attorney, said in a telephone interview yesterday that Green was not the shooter. "He did not" kill the child, Weymouth said. He also said he has not seen any of the evidence authorities say they have collected against Green, who was arrested in February on two charges of assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the shooting.

Akara's attorney, Robert L. Sheketoff, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Akara was arrested in March and charged with illegal possession of a handgun and resisting arrest.

According to law enforcement officials, the Orange Line car where Barry was shot was taken out of service after the attack and has been preserved as a crime scene. During the past seven months, Boston and MBTA police investigating the killing have returned repeatedly to the car, accompanied by witnesses. Police asked several witnesses on different occasions to position themselves in the same spot they occupied during the shooting, the officials said.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, witnesses told police of a man -- who became known as the "dapper man" -- who walked through the Orange Line car just before the shooting, warning fellow passengers that violence could break out any second. Conley would not say yesterday whether the man had been located.

In April, the lead prosecutor, David Meier, and lead detective, Boston police Sergeant Detective Thomas O'Leary, stood at the Massachusetts Avenue station, publicly appealing for witnesses to come forward and help catch the killer of Barry's child.

Barry, who was shot just days before her due date, has three daughters. Age 32 at the time of the shooting, she arrived in the United States in April 2002 on a visitor's visa, joining her husband, Mamadou Bailo Bah, who fled their native Guinea fearing persecution by the government. Bah was out of town when the shooting occurred. Since the shooting, Barry, an undocumented immigrant, has gained the support of law enforcement as she tries to win legal permission to remain in the United States.

She could not be reached for comment last night.

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