EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 19, 2013

Men charged in unprovoked beating on Winter Street remain held

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — Two men charged in the beating of a man who was walking to a convenience store remain held without bail and face being indicted by a grand jury.

Such an indictment would move the case to superior court and open up the defendants to harsher punishments than they could receive at Haverhill District Court.

Police said the unprovoked beating happened about 2 p.m. on Aug. 30 on Winter Street, close to the bridge that crosses Little River. The victim, Jesse Downs, 31, of Haverhill is unresponsive in intensive care at a Boston hospital, according to family members.

At a hearing yesterday in Haverhill District Court, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Strasnick said the case is being presented to a grand jury and a decision on indictment is expected by Oct. 3.

Police have charged Rodney McCray, 21, of 13 Dudley St., with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, disorderly conduct and witness intimidation.

Police have charged a second man, 21-year-old Roberto Hilerio of Boston, with aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

McCray was arraigned on the charges on Sept. 3, where he was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing yesterday in Haverhill District Court. Hilerio was arraigned on the charges on Sept. 4, and was also ordered held without bail pending yesterday’s hearing.

At yesterday’s hearing, defense lawyers for both men requested their dangerousness hearings be continued to Oct. 8, saying they wanted more time to review case documents, including witness interviews. McCray was represented by lawyer Timothy Connors and Hilerio was represented by lawyer Christopher Holland.

Judge Stephen Abany ordered McCray and Hilerio held without bail and extended a protective order that was put in place previously by Judge Patricia Dowling. The order requires that court documents be impounded to protect the names and addresses of witnesses.

Dowling granted the order at the request of the Essex County District Attorney’s Office. At the request of the defense lawyers yesterday, Abany clarified the order, indicating the lawyers can review police reports with their clients and private investigators, but are not allowed to reveal the addresses of witnesses.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, McCray was arrested on Aug. 30 at 4 p.m., at the corner of 5th Avenue and Union Street. Hilerio was arrested on Sept. 3 at 5:01 p.m., at 13 Dudley St., according to the report. That address is the home of McCray, the other person charged.