EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 4, 2013

Parole denied to city man who admitted to 1997 Lawrence murder

By Jill Harmacinski

---- — LAWRENCE — The state has denied parole to a former Lawrence man who admitted to killing Jason Cox, 20, after an argument on Springfield Street 15 years ago.

Vinny Luis Nunez, 35, also known as Buenaventura Nunez, pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Cox, a 1996 graduate of the Essex Agricultural Institute and an aspiring veterinary technician.

Cox was working at Bulger Animal Hospital in North Andover at the time of his murder. The son of Marie and Edward Cox of Abbott Street, Lawrence, the young man was recalled as well-liked and full of potential by co-workers and friends. He possessed a special gift for working with animals, friends recalled.

His survivors also included a brother, Aaron, and sister, Elise, according to Eagle-Tribune archived articles.

In a decision released Dec. 17, the Massachusetts Parole Board denied parole for Nunez. He is not eligible for parole for another four years.

District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett applauded the decision, saying in a prepared statement issued yesterday Nunez “took the life of a young man and displayed a reckless disregard for the children and others who were on the street at the time of the shooting.”

On June 9, 1997, Cox was involved in a fistfight on Springfield Street. When he began winning, Nunez, then 20, pulled out a small handgun and shot Cox between his eyes. Cox fell to the ground and Nunez fired one more shot as good measure.

Nunez was later arrested at his girlfriend’s house in Derry, N.H.

In opposing Nunez’s parole, prosecutor Paul Wagoner said that his “current account of the murder lacks credibility, appears crafted to minimize his culpability and disregards the community he traumatized with his reckless act,” accordign to the statement released by Blodgett’s office.

Wagoner also said Nunez’s post-parole plans were vague.

Cox’s murder occurred on Springfield Street, a city street that became nationally notorious in the early 1990s due to drug dealing and crime. Then Mayor Kevin Sullivan had the street blocked and brought in the National Guard to cut down on crime.

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