Guilty plea in death at 2006 Fitchbur...

Guilty plea in death at 2006 Fitchburg birthday party

Posted in the Fitchburg Forum

Illegal guns rewarded

Fitchburg, MA

#1 Jul 9, 2013
Guilty plea in death at 2006 Fitchburg birthday party

By Alana Melanson, amelanson@sentinelandenterpris

Posted: 07/09/2013 06:30:25 AM EDT
WORCESTER -- A Fitchburg man accused of murdering another man at a 15-year-old girl's birthday party in 2006 pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges Monday in Worcester Superior Court, and was sentenced to seven to eight years in state prison, according to Paul Jarvey, a spokesman for Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

Judge James Lemire also gave Jonathan DeJesus, 26, three years of probation, to begin after his release from jail, Jarvey said.

DeJesus attended a "quinceañera," or 15th birthday party, at Saima Park in Fitchburg on Oct. 8, 2006, but was kicked out of the party along with some other men. Two masked men later returned with .9mm handguns and fired several shots at partygoers, killing 24-year-old Julio Colon and injuring three others.

DeJesus was not charged in connection with the incident until 53 months later, in March 2009, after DNA evidence linked him to one of two guns and some clothing found in the park.

At the time, he was already serving a sentence of two to three years at the state prison in Shirley for convictions for assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a firearm and possession of ammunition in connection with a 2005 nonfatal shooting of a 21-year-old Fitchburg man at the Green Acres housing complex.

Also charged in that earlier incident was Juan R. Irizarry, 30, of Fitchburg, who was recently arrested for an early-morning shooting on Marshall Street on May 20.

Both men pleaded
guilty to their charges stemming from the 2005 incident in Worcester Superior Court in January 2007.
Jarvey said DeJesus finished his prison sentence for the earlier charges and has been held without bail ever since. He said DeJesus will only serve a portion of his seven-to-eight-year sentence, as he will receive credit for the 1,685 days -- more than 4 1/2 years -- he has been held in the meantime.

Witnesses told police DeJesus had spoken of "shooting up" the quinceañera party in 2006, and that he had expressed concern to a fellow inmate that DNA evidence would tie him to the incident.

DeJesus was charged with murder, five counts of armed assault to murder, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, possessing ammunition without a firearms-identification card, carrying a firearm without a license, and possession of a loaded firearm not at home or work.

Jarvey said uncooperative witnesses and other issues made proving murder difficult. He said Assistant District Attorney Terrence Reidy, the prosecutor, and defense Attorney James Gribouski agreed on the terms of the manslaughter plea deal.

According to Jarvey, one of the charges of armed assault to murder was amended to assault with a dangerous weapon, and that is the count for which DeJesus received three years of probation. DeJesus received seven to eight years in prison on each of the manslaughter charges, four counts of armed assault to murder, and three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon -- all to be served concurrently, he said.
Illegal guns rewarded

Fitchburg, MA

#2 Jul 9, 2013
DeJesus also received four to five years in the House of Correction on the charge of carrying a firearm without a license, two years for possessing ammunition without an FID card and six months for discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, all of which are also to be served concurrent with the seven-to-eight-year sentence.

The charge of possession of a loaded firearm not at home or work was dismissed, he said.

Jarvey said there were no victim-impact statements read at the sentencing, but that the family of the victim was in agreement with the sentence.

DeJesus' former co-defendant, Xavier Santiago, 24, of Fitchburg, was found by Early to have been wrongly identified in the killing when new evidence was brought forward late last year.

Santiago, who had been held in the Middlesex County House of Correction in Cambridge for more than six years since his arrest the day after the shooting, was released in December and cleared of the same 13 charges DeJesus had originally been given.

Follow Alana Melanson at or on Twitter @alanamelanson.

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