EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 13, 2012

Guilty plea expected in Bonilla case

(Continued)

Melix Bonilla was Lantigua’s campaign manager who was promoted from sergeant to deputy chief once Lantigua became mayor in January 2010. He received a $45,000 pay raise.

The older Bonilla is accused of swapping 13 city-owned vehicles for four Chevrolets. He was relieved of duty and stripped of his gun, badge, work ID, cell phone and cruiser after indictments were handed down on Sept. 11.

But, Melix Bonilla continues to get a paycheck on his $140,000 annual salary. Lantigua has the authority to stop payments, but hasn’t done so even at the request of Police Chief John Romero.

In September, in Jamel Bonilla’s case, Lu denied a motion to suppress statements the teen made to police when he was arrested.

Cain argued the statements should be thrown out because his client was 17 at the time and was not allowed to consult with his father during the interview.

The law only requires a person 16 or under to have a parent present during questioning. Lu also said police were not confrontational and Bonilla was not crying or distraught when he was interviewed. Bonilla was also read his Miranda rights as legally required before he was questioned and “then gave a detailed statement to police about his involvement in an alleged robbery,” Lu ruled.

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Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

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