A look back at Boston’s history of mass murders since the ’70s

By L. Finch
Globe Correspondent / September 29, 2010

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The early-morning rampage in Mattapan, which left three adults and a 3-year-old boy dead and another man clinging to life, is at least the seventh mass killing since the early 1970s in Boston.

Here are details on those earlier slayings:

■ In December 2005, a 19-year-old Dorchester man shot four people in a makeshift basement recording studio on Bourneside Street after stealing one of the men’s handguns. Three of the four men had formed a rap group, and the weapon was used as a prop in a music video.

Calvin L. Carnes Jr., who later tried to sell the gun and other firearms he had stolen from the victims, was found guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery, and gun possession charges and given multiple life sentences.

■ A father and son stormed into a 99 Restaurant & Pub in Charlestown in the middle of the afternoon in November 1995, shooting five men, four fatally, after a feud between two families with ties to the North End boiled over. Anthony Clemente and his son, Damian, were convicted of the slayings, and both are serving life in prison.

During the trial, the elder Clemente described in graphic detail how he shot and killed the men as they dined.

“I moved real quick, turned around the corner, and saw that it was Roman’’ Luisi,] Clemente testified. “I shot him in the back. I took a better-aimed shot, shot him in the back of the head.’’

■ A power struggle between Asian gangs for control of Chinatown left five men dead and a sixth critically wounded in January 1991, when the group was shot execution-style in an after-hours Tyler Street gambling parlor. Two men, Siny Van Tran and Nam The Tham, were extradited to Massachusetts from China and convicted of the murders nearly 15 years later.

■ Bryan A. Dyer, a debt-ridden former employee of Sammy White’s Brighton Bowl, bludgeoned a manager and three others with a tenpin before shooting the men, whom he had handcuffed, inside the Soldiers Field Road bowling alley in late September 1980.

Dyer, who stole nearly $5,000 from the alley’s safe, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

■ Five men were killed in late June 1978, when gunmen burst into the basement office of the downtown Boston disco lounge Blackfriars Restaurant, shooting the manager, John A. Kelly, a former WBZ radio and Channel 7 investigative reporter, Kelly’s business partner, and three others. Blood covered the floor and walls, authorities said at the time, and a game of backgammon lay interrupted on a table.

The Suffolk district attorney at the time said he “had never witnessed a more shocking crime.’’ Two men were tried for the massacre and acquitted.

■ Dorchester security guard George T. O’Leary shot his wife and five of his six children to death inside their Clayton Street home in early June 1973, before killing himself with a lethal cocktail of sleeping pills. The eldest child, Teresa, 15, who was at a local hospital the night of the murders because of a beating from her father, discovered the gruesome scene when she returned home.

She spent the majority of her life thereafter in psychiatric hospitals.

“I love my wife,’’ O’Leary scribbled in a note after he had murdered his family. “I love my children. I can’t live without them. So I’m going to take them with me. . . . I’m sorry I had to do it.’’

L. Finch can be reached at

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