Police: 2nd man charged in murder has gang ties

FILE PHOTOStabbing victim Jose Vasquez

HAVERHILL — The second man arrested in connection with last weekend's stabbing death of a 26-year-old man in the Mount Washington neighborhood is known to have gang ties, police said.

Devaughn Johnson, 25, of Haverhill has been ordered held without bail after being arraigned in Haverhill District Court in connection with the murder of Jose Vasquez.

Johnson, who is charged with one count of accessory to murder after the fact, will remain behind bars until at least the end of next month, Acting First Justice Cesar Archilla ruled in the arraignment Friday. Johnson was also ordered to have no contact with witnesses in the case or with members of Vasquez's family. Johnson's next court date is Dec. 29.

Investigators said Haverhill police, members of the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and detectives assigned to the District Attorney's office arrested Johnson at 5:24 p.m. Wednesday on Arch Avenue in the Mount Washington neighborhood.

Johnson is being held without bail without prejudice, meaning the court can reconsider the issue of bail at any time. The judge also impounded all police reports associated with the case, but did not state a reason for doing so. Reports on a previous arrest in the murder case are also impounded.

After a private discussion involving the judge and lawyers for the prosecution and defense during the arraignment, the judge allowed Johnson to remain out of view of the public at the hearing. Court officials later said the discussion and ruling had to do with protecting Johnson's identity for the sake of the investigation and the court case.

A police report from 2014 documenting a past arrest of Johnson for armed assault to murder said Johnson is known to Haverhill police and has ties to the Gangsta Disciples street gang.

Massachusetts state law governing the charge against Johnson says anyone who knows a crime has been committed and later assists the person who committed the crime is considered an accessory after the fact. Punishment varies anywhere from a monetary fine to seven years in state prison.

Johnson is also being detained on a previous Haverhill District Court case involving a resisting arrest charge, court officials said.

David Trongeau, 19, was arrested Monday of last week and charged with murdering Vasquez. Police say Trongeau stabbed Vasquez shortly before 10 p.m. Nov. 21 at the victim's home on Marble Street. When officers responded to a call reporting an assault with a dangerous weapon, they found Vasquez, who police said is a known gang member, suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Trongeau evaded capture for two days after the stabbing until members of the State Police fugitive unit and Taunton Police tracked him to a home in Taunton, where he was found hiding in a bedroom closet, investigators said.

At the time of the stabbing, Trongeau was on probation for an earlier shooting incident, which court officials called gang-related, in which he pleaded guilty to firing a bullet into a Center Street home nearly a year ago. As part of that plea deal, Trongeau was ordered not to possess firearms or reoffend. If he did so, he could be sent back to jail for 18 months.

He is also being held without bail until his next court date Dec. 29.

 

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