Parolee convicted in store clerk’s murder
2009 shooting had shaken city
A 65-year-old Roslindale man was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder in the 2009 fatal shooting of a convenience store clerk in Jamaica Plain.
Jurors found that Edward Corliss, who was on parole for a previous murder at the time of the shooting, robbed and then shot Surendra Dangol, 39, of Somerville, at a Tedeschi’s on Centre Street on Dec. 26, 2009.
The killing, which happened at about 3 p.m. in a store on a major street in a bustling neighborhood, shocked the city. That shock was still evident on the face and in the words of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley following yesterday’s guilty verdict in Suffolk Superior Court.
Standing behind Conley were prosecutors Patrick Haggan and Janis Noble, and three Boston Police Department investigators, Sergeant Detective Michael F. Devane and Detectives Garrett G. Mitchell and Michael T. Walsh. Conley said the authorities were driven to find justice for Dangol.
“What was he doing? Trying to earn a living so he could send money back’’ to his family in Nepal, the district attorney said, “and they could come join him in this great country of ours.’’
Instead, he said, Dangol’s life ended horrifically, “thousands and thousands of miles from the people who loved him the most.’’
Still, Conley said, the arrest of Corliss came as a shock to law enforcement officials. Corliss had been sentenced to life in prison for the fatal shooting of a Salisbury store clerk in 1971, but was released in 2006. He was arrested three weeks after Dangol’s slaying. Prosecutors said Corliss had left the store with $748.
“The defendant convicted today was a career criminal, someone who had done virtually the exact same thing in the 1970s, someone that never should have been out of custody,’’ Conley said. “He gunned down this innocent man who did everything we tell store clerks to do when confronted by armed men . . . and still Edward Corliss shot him at point-blank range.’’
The verdict came just a few hours into the jury’s first full day of deliberations. Corliss also was convicted of armed robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm.
“In my 10 years as district attorney, I’m not sure I’ve seen a better investigation,’’ Conley said after the verdict. He said police tracked down the getaway vehicle and found the murder weapon on Revere Beach, and police and prosecutors “did all the necessary little things that got us to where we are.’’
The mandatory penalty for first-degree murder is life without the possibility of parole. The conviction will be reviewed by the Supreme Judicial Court.
Dangol, an immigrant from Nepal, was described by his friends as a warm, quiet, gentle man who was saving money to bring his family to the United States. His wife and daughter did come - to attend his funeral.
The shooting was captured on the store’s surveillance camera. Prosecutors replayed the footage during the trial last week, saying that it showed Corliss committing the crime in an elaborate disguise. It included a bulky overcoat, wig, and a scarf covering the lower half of his face.
His defense lawyer, John Hayes, had told the jury that Corliss was not the assailant shown in the video. Hayes left the courthouse yesterday without speaking to reporters.
Judge Diane Kottmeyer scheduled sentencing for 2 p.m. tomorrow so a translator could be found for victim impact statements from Dangol’s family.
“Hopefully, this time around, Edward Corliss will never get out of prison,’’ Conley said. “This is a man who lacks any empathy for his fellow human beings . . . He must be institutionalized. He must remain that way for the rest of his natural life.’’