By Jill Harmacinski firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — LAWRENCE — Ismael Calixto could not have murdered Richard “Chi-Chi” Bonilla because he was home playing a video game early Sunday morning when the 18-year-old Lowell man was shot on a Broadway sidewalk, his defense attorney said yesterday.
“He absolutely denies he was there,” Attorney Raymond Buso said in court yesterday at Calixto’s murder arraignment.
Friends and relatives of Bonilla lined numerous rows of the courtroom gallery, many sobbing and hugging one another throughout the brief court proceeding.
Bonilla died Sunday afternoon after he was airlifted to a Boston hospital. A medical examiner determined his cause of death was a gunshot would to the head, with injuries to his skull and brain, according to a state police report.
Police suspect Bonilla’s murder, the second in Lawrence this year, is gang-related.
Security in the courtroom was tightened for Calixto’s brief court appearance early yesterday afternoon.
Extra court officers and four uniformed Lawrence police officers were brought into the courtroom. Several state troopers also sat in the gallery as Calixto, 18, of 32 Willow St., Lawrence was arraigned and held without bail. He was charged with murder, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition and discharging a firearm within city limits.
At 1 a.m. Sunday, Bonilla was shot in the head after an argument at an 11 Broadway Ave. party, according to a report filed by State Police Detective Anthony Schena. Several people were denied access to the party, triggering a fight.
“The fight consisted of several persons, including Richard Bonilla, and moved into the parking lot of the AutoZone store across from 11 Broadway Ave. During the fight, several shots rang out,” Schena wrote.
People tried to flee the area and as they did “more shots rang out,” Schena wrote in his report.
An unidentified eyewitness told police the shooter was Calixto, who was wearing a baseball hat with the words “Magic” in blue letters across the front, and Timberland type boots, Schena wrote.
Calixto was arrested at his home at 8:15 Monday night. Afterwards, police obtained a search warrant and found a baseball hat with “Magic” in blue letters and a pair of Timberland type boots in Calixto’s bedroom, Schena wrote.
In court, Buso said Calixto is currently under house arrest, has a 6 p.m. curfew and was actually home in bed when the shooting occurred. He was awakened by the sound of the shots and became concerned “his girlfriend was in the area of the shooting.”
Buso also said Calixto was playing a game on his Playstation, a device that records time, date and the player. The video log will show he was playing the game, Buso said.
Bonilla was gunned down in front of 400 Broadway, about a block away from the party. Flowers, candles and a red bandanna were left on the sidewalk there, in front of D’Todo Party Center, a party supply store owned by City Councilor Oneida Aquino.
Police do not believe Aquino or her business was connected in any way to Bonilla’s murder, police said.
Buso filed a motion to dismiss in the case yesterday. Calixto will be back in court tomorrow as arguments are heard on that motion.
Two months ago, Martin Angelone Butt, 27, also of Lowell, was killed in Lawrence. Butt was shot in the chest near 121 Union St. and four people have been charged in connection with his murder.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.