By Mike LaBella firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — HAVERHILL — An Essex County Grand Jury indicted three people yesterday on murder and other charges in connection with the July 23 shooting deaths of William Melchionda and Anddy Guzman at 631 River St.
Juan Carlos Sanchez, 20, of Lawrence and Joshua Cloutman, 20, and Angela Walsh, 21, both of of 631 River St., were each indicted on two counts of murder. They were also indicted on charges of home invasion, armed robbery and armed burglary, and assault on an occupant.
In addition, Sanchez was indicted on two counts of armed assault with intent to murder.
Essex District Attorney spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan said the indictments move the cases from district court to superior court, which has jurisdiction over murder charges. A grand jury is a 23-member group that meets in secret, weighs evidence and testimony, and then decides if it rises to a level sufficient to indict or bring a criminal charge.
Sanchez was arrested July 29 and arraigned July 30 in Haverhill District Court, where he pleaded not guilty to charges that included two counts of murder. Judge Patricia Dowling ordered Sanchez held without bail on a previous, drug-related probation violation and continued the shooting case. He continues to be held without bail.
Cloutman and Walsh were arrested Aug. 6 on accessory before the fact and witness intimidation charges. At their arraignments Aug. 7 in Haverhill District Court, Judge Michael Uhlarik ordered them held on $20,000 cash bail. They are still in custody and are expected to be arraigned on the new charges in Salem Superior Court in a few weeks, Kimball-Monahan said.
Essex Assistant District Attorney Melissa Woodard is prosecuting the case. Attorneys Ronald Ranta, John Morris and Joseph Gannon are representing Sanchez, Cloutman and Walsh respectively.
Police said that on the night of July 23, four people were shot, two of them killed and the other two taken to a Boston hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. All four shootings occurred in Melchionda’s ground-floor apartment at 629-635 River St., police said.
According to court documents, three masked men entered Melchionda’s apartment sometime between 10 and 10:30 p.m. that night. Police reports show the invaders’ motive was their belief illegal drugs and a large amount of cash were being kept in the home.
Police said Guzman, 20, of Lawrence was one of the men who invaded the home and was accidently shot by Sanchez during the violent struggle. Guzman was found outside the home with a fatal gunshot wound. He was wearing a black mask and had an empty pistol holder, police said. Sanchez told a witness interviewed by police that he mistakenly shot Guzman, according to police reports.
Cloutman and Walsh, who police said lived in an upstairs apartment with their child and Cloutman’s mother, were charged with helping to plan the home invasion in exchange for some of the marijuana the home invaders planned to steal from Melchionda’s apartment, police said. The young couple called and texted one of the gunmen from their shared cell phone numerous times in the days and hours leading up to the deadly intrusion that left two dead and two others wounded, police said.
Jonas Rogers, 25, of Haverhill was arrested on July 31 and also charged in the murders.
Rogers was arraigned Aug. 1 on the same charges as Sanchez and was also ordered held without bail. But at a hearing on Sept. 27, Rogers was released on personal recognizance, as the Essex County District Attorney’s office asked the court for more time to present evidence to a grand jury seeking an indictment against him.
Kimball-Monahan said the grand jury investigation remains open.