By Shawn Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — It’s been more than a year since two people were shot and killed in a River Street apartment in what police said was a drug-related home invasion.
But no one charged in the double-murder has made it to trial yet, and only one of the three defendants in the case remains behind bars.
Police said that on the night of July 23, 2012, four people were shot in the apparent home-invasion, including William Melchionda, 20, and Anddy Guzman, 20, who died from their injuries.
The shootings occurred in Melchionda’s ground-floor apartment at 629-635 River St. According to court documents, three masked men entered Melchionda’s apartment after 10 that night with the belief that illegal drugs and a large amount of cash were being kept there.
In October 2012, an Essex County Grand Jury indicted three suspects — Juan Carlos Sanchez, 20, of Lawrence and Joshua Cloutman, 20, and Angela Walsh, 21, both of 631 River St. — on two counts of murder. They were also charged with home invasion, armed robbery and armed burglary, and assault on an occupant. Sanchez was also indicted on two counts of armed assault with intent to murder.
All three defendants were in Salem Superior Court this week, where their lawyers and prosecutors discussed motions and procedural matters and set Sept. 24 as the next court date for the trio. After court, a spokesman for the Essex District Attorney’s Office said he did not know when any of the cases might finally make it to trial.
On Thursday, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections said Walsh was the only defendant in the case in custody, with the other two out on bail.
Cloutman and Walsh were arrested Aug. 6, 2012, on accessory before the fact and witness intimidation charges.
Last year, the district attorney’s office decided not to pursue charges against two other men who had been charged in the case — Jonas Rogers and Matthew Rogers.
Police said Guzman was one of the men who invaded the home and was accidentally 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 holster, 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, police said.