HAVERHILL — Philip Lucas DeFusco of Haverhill appeared in Haverhill District Court yesterday after police charged him with stabbing a New Hampshire man to death on Wednesday. But, DeFusco, 21, did not show his face and instead stood hidden in a stairwell between the court’s lower level holding area and the courtroom above.
DeFusco’s defense lawyer, Thomas Gleason, convinced Judge Patricia Dowling to allow him to remain hidden from public view — although close enough to hear the proceedings — saying there were questions about his identification as a suspect.
Gleason said an eyewitness gave a description that in some ways did not match DeFusco, adding that the witness was also unable to identify him after being shown a photo array that included his picture.
Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said the photos police showed to the witness were very old ones.
“His own mother tells police I think my son was involved in a stabbing,” DePaulo said. “I don’t think there’s an identification issue at this point.”
Dowling allowed DeFusco to remain out of view of the courtroom while the hearing took place.
DeFusco, of 45 Locust St., Apt. 716, was charged with murder and was ordered held without bail. A probable cause hearing was scheduled for Nov. 14.
According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, on Wednesday at approximately 8:23 p.m., officers responded to High Street for a report of a man with multiple stab wounds. Police found Derric Gaines, 25, of Danville, N.H., lying on the sidewalk, bleeding profusely. Gaines was transported to Lawrence General Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later, according to Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.
Late Wednesday night, Haverhill police issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies throughout the region to be on the lookout for a black 1998 Honda Accord with a New Hampshire license plate wanted in connection with the murder. They warned that the occupants could be armed and dangerous.