By Kevin P. O'Connor
Posted Jun 15, 2010 @ 06:25 PM
FALL RIVER —
A city man was charged with murder Tuesday for a Feb. 27 killing that prosecutors say was part of a gang feud.
But the man killed had nothing to do with the gangs involved or the feud, the prosecutor added.
Erroll Powell, 21, of 194 Fifth St., was ordered held without bail. He is charged with walking up to a red Jaguar sedan parked on Charles Street and firing at least three shots into the back seat, killing Jonathan Nieves and wounding his brother, Jacobo Nieves, at 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 27.
“This was the result of a gang dispute,” prosecutor Stephen Nadeau told District Court Judge Joseph Macy. “It appears Mr. Nieves was an innocent victim.
“No one in that car was related to the gang dispute that was going on.”
Powell was ordered held pending a hearing on Friday to determine if he should be granted bail while awaiting trial.
Delma Sadm, 26, also of 194 Fifth St., was arrested with Powell and also ordered held without bail. She is charged with being an accessory to murder and intimidating a witness.
Her lawyer, James Powderly, is scheduled to return to court today to offer an argument for bail.
Police became aware of the shooting when Nieves and his brother were delivered to the emergency room at St. Anne’s Hospital at 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 27. Jonathan Nieves was pronounced dead on arrival with three bullets in his chest. Jacobo Nieves was taken to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence for treatment of gunshot wounds to his left hand and right biceps.
When the brothers arrived at the hospital, police were already circling the Sunset Hill housing complex after getting calls reporting gunshots there.
The Nieves brothers had been in the back seat of the red 2002 Jaguar sedan when someone walked up to the passenger side of the car and fired at least three rounds into the car.
Police recovered three spent .40 caliber shells at the scene and pathologists pulled a .40 caliber slug from Jonathan Nieves’ body, according to the police report.
Fall River detectives and State Police investigators assigned to District Attorney Sam Sutter began the investigation that night.
Police located witnesses who reported seeing a light colored Lincoln Town Car leaving the area immediately after the shooting. The car was noticeable because it had a New York Yankees decal in the rear window, police were told.
The car provided the break: The car was located on Fifth Street and the owner later admitted the car was borrowed by a friend on Feb. 27 in the hours before dawn. The car owner told police she believed the friend was going to buy drugs.
But shortly after the car was returned, police allege, Delma Sadm called the owner of the car and ordered her to clean it out, wipe it down and to remove the Yankee sticker from the window.
Nadeau told the judge the investigation is continuing and requested that case files be kept sealed from the public while others involved in the shooting are sought.
Defense lawyer Gerald FitzGerald did not object to sealing the file. Judge Macy approved the request.
Nieves’ death set off a furor in the city. It came during a weekend that included a stabbing and another shooting, both unrelated.
Mayor William Flanagan met with police brass about the incidents and mentioned them a week later when he promoted Police Capt. Daniel Racine to chief.
Powell is charged with murder, two charges of assault and battery with a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm, using a gun in the commission of a crime and firing a gun within 500 feet of a home.
He faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Sadm is charged with being an accessory and intimidating a witness.
The charge against her reads: “Knowing that Erroll Powell committed a felony, to wit, murder, (she) did harbor, conceal, maintain or assist such person with the intent that such person should avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial or punishment.”
Sadm faces a possible sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted.
E-mail Kevin P. O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.