Massachusetts. – Dominican José Armando Betances, 58, accused by the authorities of the city of Lowell in Massachusetts of the murder of teenager Andrew Alexander, 17, in 1990 and who was a fugitive in the Dominican Republic for 30 years, said He pleaded not guilty yesterday Monday morning when he was instructed in the Middlesex County Superior Court, after being brought into custody by FBI agents by Boston Logan Airport on Friday night.
Prosecutors say Betances killed Alexander with a gunshot to the head, when in a traffic incident, both began to argue and the victim challenged him to get out of the vehicle to fight after stoning the Dominican car several times, in what according to his lawyer, seemed to be an answer in self-defense.
Betances, left and returned shortly after armed with a .32 caliber revolver with which he shot the teenager in one of the eyes.
He was arrested in the Dominican Republic after a three-decade search by Lowell police, the Middlesex district attorney’s office and the FBI.
He is charged with first-degree murder and illegal escape to avoid prosecution in connection with the 1990 shooting.
If convicted in a trial, he faces life imprisonment.
In court there was only one woman on the side of the defendant who also cried when Betances responded to the judge “not guilty”, but it is unknown if both have or had any relationship.
Betances killed the teenager on May 12, 1990, when he parked his car on Salem Street, deputy prosecutor Clarence Brown alleged during the charge investigation process.
The defendant honked his car horn to suppress his girlfriend, who had previously dated Alexander, Brown said. She got in the car.
When Betances began to move away, Alexander threw a rock that hit the roof of Betances’ car, the assistant prosecutor said.
Betances paused briefly and then walked away.
Shortly after, Betances returned to Salem Street, parked the car and began to look at Alexander through the road.
“Mr. Alexander challenged Mr. Betances to get out of the car and fight,” the prosecution said.
Alexander threw a second stone, which broke the rear window on the driver’s side of the car that Betances was driving, according to Prosecutor Brown.
Betances is accused of firing a single shot with a .32 caliber revolver, shooting Alexander in the eyebrows and then left, the Public Ministry said.
Alexander was taken to the Saint Joseph hospital in Lowell, where he was pronounced dead in the emergency.
An autopsy confirmed that the cause of his death was a single gunshot wound to the head.
The victim was waiting for her 18th birthday the next day.
Betances fled to the Dominican Republic, where he remained for 30 years, prosecutor Brown said.
On May 13, 1990, an arrest warrant was issued against Betances in the Lowell District Court. After his indictment by a Grand Jury, another arrest warrant was issued on June 7, 1990 in the Middlesex High Court.
“As of August 1990, the Middlesex County and Lowell Police authorities sought and obtained help from the federal government to locate Mr. Betances in the Dominican Republic,” the prosecution said.
On August 16, 1990, the federal court of Massachusetts issued another arrest warrant against Betances on an illegal flight charge to avoid prosecution and was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list.
In January 2017, the researchers obtained photographs of the location of Betances in the Dominican Republic.
The State Department submitted an extradition request, which included a request for a provisional arrest warrant, to the Dominican authorities. The Supreme Court of the Dominican Republic issued an arrest warrant against Betances on July 8, 2019.
On November 12 of that year, Betances was arrested outside his home.
This January, he resigned from the extradition procedure in his country and was transported to the United States on Friday.
“Regardless of Mr. Betances’ ties to the community, he has shown his willingness to evade justice for three decades to avoid prosecution,” the deputy prosecutor said.
“For the same conduct, the community believes that if Mr. Betances is not detained without the right to bail, he will not return to court at future dates,” the prosecution alleged.
On the days when Betances killed the teenager, he also faced charges in the Lawrence district court for assault and assault against a family member in his home, home invasion and illegal entry, and threat to commit a crime.
Brown said his office had issued an arrest warrant for breach of those crimes, before the murder.
He requested that Betances be imprisoned without bail in connection with Alexander’s murder, and with a $ 10,000 cash bond for the court case in Lawrence.
Attorney Eduardo Masferrer, who represented Betances, accepted the prosecutor’s request to detain the defendant without bail and explained that because Betances was extradited, he could not be released on bail.
“I agree with the community on some of the problems they raised in court,” he said. “But the victim seems to be the initial and primary aggressor against Betances.”
Judge Michael Sullivan granted the prosecution’s request.
“It has been a long process to get Mr. Betances back here today,” said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan. “We never give up in these cases.”
Betances must return to the courtroom on March 2 at 2:00 p.m. when the process against him will be monitored.