SALEM, Mass. — After a secret court proceeding in a hospital bed, a Lawrence man accused of murdering a woman this summer has been indicted and now faces public arraignment in Salem Superior Court.
Giovanni Lebron, 24, of 20 Daisy St., was indicted on a first-degree murder charge after the body of Nicole Connor, 24, was found in the Spicket River near Manchester Street Park in Lawrence on July 23.
He remains held without bail and the motive for the murder remains unclear.
The indictment indicates Lebron "did assault and beat Nicole Connor with intent to murder her, and by such assault and beating did kill and murder" Connor, according to court papers.
An accused accomplice, Nelson Gilles, 23, of 25 Bowdoin St., Lawrence, was also indicted on a charge of accessory after the fact, according to court papers.
He remains held on $100,000 bail.
Connor was from Haverhill and is survived by a daughter, according to her obituary prepared by the Driscoll Funeral Home in Haverhill.
The young woman was described as "strong willed and full of determination" and enjoyed the outdoors and visiting Salisbury Beach, according to the obituary.
"She was light-hearted and free-spirited, always quick with a laugh. She wasn't the least bit shy and her bubbly personality gained her many friends everywhere she went. Although she was going through hard times in recent years, we know without a doubt that she would have overcome them eventually with her inner strength of will, if she hadn't been taken from us all far too soon," according to the obituary.
After Connor's body was found, state police detectives were seen working near that area of the Spicket River. A couch was hoisted from the water by a crane on a tow truck.
Also, a cellphone seized from Lebron after his arrest contained Facebook Messenger texts between Lebron and Gilles, revealing that Gilles had “intimate knowledge” of what had occurred, said Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Nasson in a hearing this summer.
Police then compared Gilles’ photo to images seen on video surveillance that captured two men, one of them believed to be Lebron, carrying Connor’s body to the Spicket River between 1 and 2 a.m. on July 25, Nasson said.
The second man was Gilles, who was wearing the same glasses and clothing as the person on the video when he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors.
Nasson said they quickly found Gilles at home, where he lives with his mother and spends most of his time playing video games.
This summer, Lawrence District Court Judge Mark Sullivan barred the media from covering Lebron's hospital room arraignment at Lawrence General Hospital.
Sullivan claimed the presence of journalists would violate medical privacy laws and the “decorum” of the hospital and that the room was too small.
The judge also granted a motion to impound, or seal, the police reports in the case, and a clerk erroneously failed to make a recording of the proceeding.
Lebron and Gilles' arraignments in Salem Superior Court have not yet been scheduled, according to Carrie Kimball, spokesperson for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.
Staff reporter Julie Manganis contributed to this report.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.