Saturday, August 4, 2018

Paging Through Springfield

"Police discover three bodies in Springfield at home of man charged with kidnapping" by Jerome Campbell, Travis Andersen and Danny McDonald Globe Staff  May 31, 2018

SPRINGFIELD — Four days after police pulled over a man for a broken taillight, investigators have discovered three bodies at his home in a busy neighborhood here, authorities said Thursday, a grisly find that horrified neighbors.

In a Thursday night press briefing down the street from the Page Boulevard home, Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni said investigators had found the bodies at the home of Stewart Weldon, a 40-year-old who was arrested Sunday on kidnapping charges after a passenger in his car told police Weldon had been holding her captive for about a month.

The woman was badly injured and said Weldon beat her with a hammer when he got angry, according to police. Authorities described her as an acquaintance of Weldon.

The woman, whose name was redacted in court records, frantically told police that Weldon was going to kill her and said, “Thank you guys for saving my life, I didn’t think I was ever going to get away,” a police report stated.

Investigators descended on Weldon’s home on Wednesday evening, and early Thursday afternoon announced they had discovered two bodies “in and around” the home. The third body was found around 2 p.m., authorities said.

Gulluni declined to say specifically where the bodies were found, how long the people had been dead, or their gender. The cause of their deaths has not been determined.

Weldon has not been charged in connection to the deaths. He is being held on $1 million bail on the armed kidnapping charges.

Asked if the same person was responsible for the deaths, Gulluni said, “I’m not in a position to confirm that.”

“We’re considering this an active investigation,” he said. “We’re not declaring any suspects.”

Investigators planned to continue their search Friday morning, he said.

Weldon was arrested Sunday after he was spotted driving a Nissan Altima with a broken taillight, police said. He was apprehended after a “very dangerous pursuit.”

He initially slowed down for police who tried to pull him over in the area of Wilbraham Road but then sped off, according to a police report. The chase ended in a violent struggle, and Weldon was placed in handcuffs.

When he was taken into custody, Weldon was carrying a large knife in his hoodie and a second knife in his rear left pocket, according to court records.

The woman with Weldon was “crying uncontrollably,” police said. Her right leg was “very infected” and there was severe swelling.

A doctor at an area hospital later noted additional injuries including a possible fractured jaw, large scrapes, scratches, old and new bruises, stab wounds to the abdomen, and “marks from being hit with a blunt object,” the report said.

The woman also said Weldon had raped her repeatedly.

Residents said they were stunned by the discovery of three bodies in their neighborhood.

“If they had never stopped him for the taillight, then no one would have known,” said Brenda Quinones, 23. “It’s just too creepy. People would still be walking by his house, and who knows if he would have gone after more women.”

Quinones and another neighbor, Scott Griffin, said Weldon moved onto Page Boulevard about two years ago. They described Weldon as antisocial.

“A simple wave. A smile. Nothing from him. He wouldn’t even look your way,” Quinones said. “Sure, it takes a while to get to know a new neighbor, but he couldn’t even do the basics.”

When investigators arrived at the home, the smell from the property was overwhelming, neighbors said.

Weldon had lived at the house with a young woman and a teen, according to the two neighbors. Loud arguments were often heard inside.

Another neighbor, Stefan Davis, said that on Sunday he saw Weldon frantically searching in his front yard in the rain.

“It was odd. He had his front door and windows wide open,” Davis said. “And he was searching through the dirt like a madman.”

Davis did not find out what happened until Wednesday, when police opened Weldon’s garage and pulled out a body in a sheet of plastic, he said.

“The stench was so foul,” he said.

As crime investigators donned white suits, Davis thought about the young woman he saw at the house.

She never spoke and was rarely seen, outside of scurrying between a car and the house.

“She didn’t look much older than my students,” said Davis, a high school teacher.

In addition to the kidnapping charge, Weldon is being held on charges including threatening to commit a crime; resisting arrest; driving with a revoked license; and failing to stop for police, records show.

He was also booked on default warrants in prior cases charging multiple motor vehicle offenses and assault with a dangerous weapon and assaulting a police officer, among other counts.

Weldon is unemployed and was previously shot, according to his booking sheet, which listed “bullet wound” under a section for marks, scars, and tattoos.

A booking sheet described his general appearance as “rough” when police took him into custody. He is 5-foot-11 and weighs 150 pounds, according to court records.....


I'm told he was “a quiet guy who looked like he was always in his own world.” 

"In Springfield, search for answers goes on" by Jeremy C. Fox, Jerome Campbell and Evan Allen Globe Correspondent | Globe Staff  June 02, 2018

SPRINGFIELD — Fearful families waited in dread for answers Saturday, wondering how an allegedly violent kidnapper with a lengthy criminal record had been allowed to walk this city’s streets.

40-year-old Stewart R. Weldon Jr. drew the attention of Springfield police on Sunday when he was stopped for a broken taillight. He fought furiously with officers, and, after he was handcuffed, they found a large knife with a rubber handle inside his hooded sweat shirt. Police then discovered a woman in the car with visible severe injuries.

Weldon is being held on $1 million bail. He hasn’t been charged with any crimes related to the three bodies found at the house, though. Weldon’s family members have not responded to requests for comment. A man who identified himself as Weldon’s cousin posted on Facebook about the arrest and discovery of the bodies, saying, “My cuz Stewart Weldon is officially A serial Killer.” He did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Children and Families confirmed in a brief statement Friday that the agency had taken “emergency custody” of a child in Weldon’s home. The DCF is “investigating in collaboration with law enforcement,” the release said.

The agency declined to comment further, citing federal and state confidentiality laws. Court records indicate that Weldon had received permission to travel to Baystate Medical Center in December 2017 while he was on bail to attend the birth of his child. It wasn’t clear if he’s since had custody.

Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno visited Page Boulevard and observed the investigators’ search Saturday morning, he said in a phone interview.

“I was just up there a little while ago, and there’s a full-court press, and they’re following up any and all leads,” he said.

Sarno praised Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni and Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri for their diligence in the investigation, as well as the officers who pulled over Weldon in the traffic stop and discovered the woman with him.

“I’m glad that he’s off the streets now, so that he can’t continue his pursuit of this path of mayhem,” he said. “This is not a reflection upon that good, diverse working-class neighborhood. There are good, good people there.”

Sarno said Weldon’s neighbors are now asking, “What the hell was this guy doing out on the street to begin with?”

For Springfield City Councilor Adam Gomez, the shocking case has a personal resonance.

“My sister lives across the street from this gentleman . . . with her husband and two daughters,” he said. “That’s the scary part in my life, realizing that this could be your next-door neighbor. That’s how it hit home for me.”

Springfield City Council President Orlando Ramos, whose ward includes 1333 Page Blvd. and who lives nearby, said Weldon was not well-known in the area.

“I’ve never heard his name before, never seen his face before,” Ramos said.

He said the boulevard is a busy artery where traffic noise could have helped cover up activity at Weldon’s home. Neighbors there are reeling from reports of what investigators have found, he said.

Gomez said the case brought to mind one 20 years earlier, in which Springfield handyman Alfred Gaynor eventually admitted killing at least eight women in the city between 1995 and 1998.....


The community is still haunted by the grisly inquiry as the remains of the three women have been identified and the mourning has begun.

"Police explain their delay in searching Springfield home" by Danny McDonald Globe Staff  June 09, 2018

Springfield police shed more light Friday on why they did not return to Stewart Weldon’s home, where the bodies of three women were found, until 2½ days after they arrested him after a traffic stop.

Weldon, who is being held on kidnapping charges in two separate cases, was arrested May 27, and a badly injured woman who was in Weldon’s car during the traffic stop told authorities he held her captive for a month and repeatedly beat her with a hammer and raped her, according to court documents.

The department on Friday released a trove of documents, including police records, accompanied by a statement about Weldon’s arrest and police response.

The victim, according to the statement, lived with Weldon at 1333 Page Blvd., where she was being held against her will, according to the police statement. A kidnapping charge, police said, does not necessarily mean that someone was abducted. In this case, the victim was held against her will, authorities said. The victim “at no point indicated to anyone that anyone else lived at the home or there was any need to go back to the home immediately,” the statement said.

Police said in the statement that the victim was taken to a hospital and that their primary concern was for her well-being.

“Due to the victim’s condition, police officers were not able to speak to her again prior to responding back to 1333 Page Blvd. on May 30th, which led to the discoveries of the three victims,” said police in a statement.

The victim credited the two officers, Daniel Moynahan and Joseph Levesque, who stopped Weldon with saving her life.

Documents released Friday also highlighted Weldon’s criminal past, including a dramatic police chase a few months prior to his arrest.

Police said officers were dispatched to Weldon’s 1333 Page Blvd. home on Feb. 21 to serve a warrant. Weldon spoke to officers through a locked screen door, and refused to unlock it, according to police. By the time his girlfriend unlocked the door, Weldon had fled through the back door of the home, according to Springfield police.

Police gave chase in a cruiser and located Weldon near a Dunkin’ Donuts on Page Boulevard. Weldon sprinted into traffic, causing a vehicle to swerve toward the cruiser, police said. The cruiser hopped a curb to avoid a crash, popping two tires in the process. Police got out and tried to find him on foot to no avail, authorities said.

Officers returned to Weldon’s address on March 8, but were again unable to locate him, according to police.

According to police, Springfield dispatchers received only four calls to 1333 Page Blvd. between late May 2016 and late May of this year. Springfield police have arrested Weldon at least 16 times and he’s been charged with more than 60 offenses since 2002. Past charges include resisting arrest, carrying a dangerous weapon, and unarmed robbery, among others, according to police..... 

Why was he even on the street


The weeklong search using ground-penetrating radar did not yield any new evidence, and the delay cast a long shadow in Springfield, but police have found massive amounts of evidence.

"Prosecutors detail some evidence seized from Springfield home where three bodies were found" by Laura Crimaldi Globe Staff  July 24, 2018

Prosecutors revealed for the first time Tuesday a partial list of items seized from a Springfield home where the remains of three women were found in May.

Nearly 200 pieces of evidence were tagged by investigators who searched the home of Stewart Weldon, 41, but what they seized remained secret until Tuesday, when Hampden County prosecutors removed some of the redactions from the evidence log. Information about more than half of the items seized during the search remain partially or fully redacted.

The Republican newspaper in Springfield, its website, MassLive, and The Boston Globe had gone to court last month to push for records in the case to be made public. Since then, redacted documents related to the search of Weldon’s property and the second kidnapping case have been made public.

On Tuesday, a Springfield District Court judge heard arguments over whether more case records should be released, but did not issue a decision.....


RelatedDNA evidence linked Stewart Weldon to sex assaults from 2009, 2017

The DNA evidence against Weldon was first reported Thursday by, the website for The Republican newspaper in Springfield.

Am I reading the wrong paper?

You know, I hate to bring up race at a time like this (it's costing the city $2.8 million when they can't even get the school buses running on time?), but.....