12 indicted in attacks at club in Back Bay

7 in party face slaying charges

By Abbie Ruzicka
Globe Correspondent / November 12, 2009

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Seven suspects were indicted on second-degree murder charges yesterday for their roles in a fight in August outside a Back Bay nightclub that led to the death of a 22-year-old Hyde Park father, said Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney.

Indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury on the slaying charges were Lynn residents Jason Benalfew, 27, Justin Cooke, 25, Jonathan Fernandez, 24, Johan Garcia, 28, Ruskyn Garcia, 25, and Michael Welch, 27, and Anthony Villalobos, 21, of Revere. In a dispute over a cigarette, the men were accused of beating Jose Alicea so badly that he died two days later.

The men were also indicted on three counts of assault and battery and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for the beatings of three surviving victims, who were friendly with Alicea, Wark said. None of the three other victims was hospitalized.

Five other men - Miguel Flaquer, 26, of Malden, and Lynn residents Ramona Berroa, 28, Jose Castro, 22, Jorge Encarnacion, 26, and Ramon Gonzales Llavona, 38 - were indicted on charges of kicking and/or beating two of the surviving victims, Wark said.

Attorneys for the indicted suspects could not be reached yesterday.

The incident began when Alicea tried to ask for a cigarette from the men. An argument ensued, and someone threw a bottle that hit Alicea in the head, and he was attacked, police said.

The 12 men, who were part of a funeral party of about 32, are accused of beating Alicea and three of his friends outside the 33 Restaurant & Lounge in the Back Bay Aug. 20 after a verbal confrontation escalated to a fight, Wark said.

Many of the men, who had come from a funeral for a Lynn man killed in a motorcycle accident, were wearing black tuxedos with red ties and cummerbunds when they started fighting shortly after the club closed at 2 a.m.

The men kicked and beat the victims then climbed into two limousines and tried to drive away before they were stopped by police, according to prosecutors.

Alicea, the father of a 5-month-old son, died of severe head injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital two days later.

The men, who have been in custody since shortly after the attack, pleaded not guilty to earlier charges of aggravated assault and battery.