Lynn attorney charged with destroying case file

Documents dealt with murder case

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / November 7, 2010

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An attorney faces arraignment tomorrow after he was arrested inside a Lynn courthouse Friday on charges that he destroyed a case file for a pending murder trial, according to lawyers and officials.

Ilya Ablavsky, 32, allegedly shredded the roughly 3-inch file after receiving it in the Salem Superior Court clerk’s office on Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the Essex district attorney’s office.

Ablavsky, of Lynn, is scheduled to be arraigned in Salem District Court on charges of tampering with a record, document, or other object for use in an official proceeding and larceny under $250, said the spokesman, Steve O’Connell. He was arrested Friday shortly before 2 p.m. inside Lynn District Court, O’Connell said.

Neither O’Connell nor an attorney for the murder defendant would discuss a possible motive for the alleged action.

Authorities say Ablavsky destroyed the file of Jose Cabrera, 20, of Lynn, who is scheduled to go to trial in January for an alleged gang-related slaying on Halloween in Lynn two years ago, according to Cabrera’s lawyer, Jeffrey T. Karp of Boston. O’Connell said prosecutors and defense counsel will work together to restore Cabrera’s file.

Karp said yesterday that Ablavsky called him Wednesday and claimed to be an acquaintance of Cabrera’s cousin. Karp declined to divulge further details but said he contacted the courthouse and the district attorney’s office immediately.

“What I can tell you is that it’s very unfortunate that this attorney did this, thinking in his mind somehow that it would be helping the defense,’’ Karp said, adding that neither he nor Cabrera knew anything about Ablavsky’s intentions.

Just hours before his arrest, Ablavsky had tried to represent Cabrera’s brother, Miguel Cabrera, 19, who was being arraigned at the courthouse on weapons charges as part of a sweep of 37 alleged gang members in Lynn and other North Shore communities, according to Miguel’s lawyer, Gary Zerola of Boston.

He said Ablavsky tried to appear on behalf of his client before Zerola arrived at the courthouse. Zerola called Ablavsky’s alleged conduct “bizarre.’’

Juan Cabrera, 57, father of Miguel and Jose, said that Ablavsky approached him Friday outside the courthouse and offered to represent his son Miguel for a lower fee than Zerola’s.

“He told me . . . ‘Please, please, please, give me the job,’ ’’ Cabrera said.

He said he had never met Ablavsky before and planned to ask family members if they knew him. The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers website yesterday listed Ablavsky as a lawyer with a clean disciplinary record who was admitted to the bar in June. He graduated from the Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, according to his LinkedIn profile online. The school’s alumni relations office could not be reached for verification yesterday.

Ablavsky ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Waltham in 1999 while he was enrolled at Brandeis University. Around that time, he was arrested on charges of making death threats against the school and David Gately, the eventual winner of the election, the student newspaper reported.

Gately’s wife, Jane Gately, 58, said yesterday that she remembered her husband receiving “some kind of threat’’ from Ablavsky in an e-mail. “It was disconcerting,’’ she said, adding that Ablavsky never had any personal interaction with her husband or anyone else in her family.

“It seemed like it was a random thing.’’ She said her husband was unavailable for comment because he was deployed in Iraq with the Army National Guard.

A Brandeis spokesman could not be reached for comment.

It was not known yesterday if Ablavsky had retained an attorney.

A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Ablavsky hung up on a reporter.

O’Connell said Ablavsky will undergo a mental evaluation before his arraignment.

Travis Andersen can be reached at