Suspect in 4 killings was acquitted on racketeering charge

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By Maria Cramer and Brian R. Ballou
Globe Staff / December 9, 2010

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The third man arrested in connection with the killings of four people, including a toddler, in Mattapan in September was acquitted four years ago of federal racketeering charges and was linked to a violent Dorchester gang.

Edward Washington, 31, of Dorchester was apprehended yesterday morning by Boston police officers and a Cambridge detective in Porter Square, where he worked as a telemarketer, according to a family friend and a relative. He is the second of the three men allegedly tied to the killings to be charged with murder.

In 2006, Washington was acquitted after he waited five years in prison for his trial on racketeering charges.

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said that Washington had long been a suspect in the Sept. 28 shooting deaths of Levaughn Washum-Garrison, 22; Simba Martin, 21; his girlfriend, Eyanna Flonory, 21; and her son, Amani Smith, 2. Washington is the cousin of Kimani Washington, the first person arrested in connection with the case, which has been described by prosecutors as a drug robbery and home invasion that ended in murder.

Last month, Dwayne Moore, a convicted killer who served time in prison with Kimani Washington, was arrested in a Mattapan apartment about three blocks from where the killings took place on Woolson Street. He was arraigned on several charges, including four counts of murder, and has pleaded not guilty.

Edward Washington will be arraigned today in Dorchester District Court on four counts of murder, home invasion, armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and armed assault with intent to murder in the shooting of a fifth victim, Marcus Hurd, 32, who remains hospitalized.

The latest arrest is the result of an ongoing grand jury investigation into one of the city’s worst homicides, which outraged neighborhood leaders and confounded investigators after five bodies were found lying on Woolson Street. Martin and Hurd were naked, apparently forced to strip, and Washum-Garrison was partially dressed. Flonory lay on the street, her son in her arms.

“I think we have a very good case, and we’re satisfied that we have the right people,“ Davis said. “It’s remarkable that on that night [investigators] were all standing there with no identification, nothing to help us with this case. They’ve done a tremendous job in piecing it together.”

Police would not say if Edward Washington’s arrest would be the last in the investigation. Davis also declined to say what specific role Washington played in the killings.

The family friend and Washington’s brother said they were shocked by the charges. They said that Washington, a quiet, laid-back man who lived with his mother, could not have been with Kimani Washington that night because the two were not speaking. Kimani Washington has not been charged with murder.

“Eddie didn’t even like Kimani, and he didn’t hang out with him at all,” the brother said as he stood on the porch of the family’s home in Dorchester. “I heard on the news like everybody else that Eddie had been arrested, and I just cried. He’s not guilty of these things. My mother is broken up.”

Both the friend and brother asked for anonymity because the family has been subjected to death threats since the arrest of Kimani Washington in October.

Edward Washington was a member of the Esmond Street Crew, a Dorchester gang that federal prosecutors said was feuding with another Dorchester group called the Franklin Hill Giants.

In 2002, Washington, who was serving a two-year sentence for gun possession, was indicted on racketeering charges by federal prosecutors who tried to prove that the Esmond Street Crew was a racketeering enterprise responsible for several shootings, including the 2001 killing of Terrell Gethers during the Caribbean Festival in Boston.

Washington’s trial ended in a hung jury in 2006, and Judge Nancy Gertner acquitted him and his codefendant because she said prosecutors were unable to prove that the gang was an organized criminal group.

Gertner said evidence in Washington’s case suggested that gang members sporadically got together to commit crimes, but they were not part of a continuous criminal enterprise, which by law has to be proven to sustain a racketeering conviction.

After Gertner’s decision, Washington hugged his lawyer and smiled broadly, according to Globe accounts of the hearing.

“God is good,” he said.

Yesterday, Gertner said she could not comment on her decision because it would violate the judicial code of conduct.

In June, Washington was arrested on charges of receiving a stolen vehicle and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute near a school. He was due back in Dorchester District Court tomorrow on those charges.

Relatives of the victims expressed gratitude yesterday for the third arrest and vowed to be at today’s arraignments.

“It’s kind of a relief . . . having those unanswered questions answered,” said Patricia Washum-Bennett, Washum-Garrison’s mother.

Hurd, who prosecutors said was shot after he came to Martin’s house to buy marijuana, remains in critical condition.

“He’s still with us,” said Till Freeman, his uncle. “His life will never be the same again.”

Prosecutors have said that Moore lived with Martin briefly in Martin’s Sutton Street home in Mattapan. That September night, Moore went back to Sutton Street to steal drugs and cash from the apartment, prosecutors have said. He and an unnamed associate then marched the five victims to Woolson Street, where they were shot, prosecutors said.

Police have not identified who shot whom. Police have not said if Kimani Washington played any role in the killings. They said that he took the rental vehicle Hurd brought to the scene. Police also found two firearms, one allegedly the murder weapon, in the family home of Kimani Washington, officials have said.

Yesterday, Woolson Street, a small stretch of three-deckers off Blue Hill Avenue, was quiet. The two makeshift memorials that had been placed near the shootings had been down for weeks.

Milton J. Valencia and Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Maria Cramer can be reached at; Brian Ballou at bballou@globe