Thursday, March 10, 2005

Maui woman killed
to send a lesson,
jurors are told

BOSTON » Exhilarated after stabbing and beating Io Nachtwey and dumping her body in the Charles River, one of her alleged killers proclaimed "what a rush," as they headed to Harvard Square to kidnap another victim, prosecutors said yesterday.

The four men, accompanied by two women who held down Nachtwey as she was stabbed, allegedly killed the 22-year-old drifter from Maui to send a message to recruits in their robbery ring that disobedience would not be tolerated.

"On every single one of those four defendants is Io Nachtwey's blood," Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan said in his opening statement in Suffolk Superior Court.

Harold Parker, 31, Luis Vasquez, 22, his brother Ismael Vasquez, 27, and Scott Davenport, 31, are charged with the Nov. 3, 2001, murder of Nachtwey, who had moved to Cambridge months earlier from Maui.

Three of the four defense lawyers who made opening statements yesterday told jurors not to trust the two women, both of whom pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for their testimony against the four men.

Lauren Alleyne, 21, of Malden and Ana White, 21, of Milton originally were charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter and kidnapping in exchange for their testimony.

They will be sentenced after the trial.

The case spotlights a side of Harvard Square that is invisible to the students, tourists and shopkeepers in Cambridge's most recognizable location.

Desperate youths regularly congregate in "The Pit," a small sunken brick plaza above the Harvard Square subway station. It is where Nachtwey, a graduate of King Kekaulike High School who had dropped out of Maui Community College, often panhandled and where the Vasquez brothers and Parker, who claimed to be gang leaders, allegedly preyed upon impressionable young people.

On Halloween night the recruits were ordered to steal valuables as a gang initiation. When Nachtwey's friends failed to bring back any goods three days later, Nachtwey was kidnapped and killed to send a message, Haggan said.

The jury is scheduled to visit the site of the slaying today.

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