Once-accused killers Paul Moccia, 51 of Dedham, and Daniel Bradley, 50 of Westwood, maintained their innocence Friday after prosecutors dropped the charges against the two men in an alleged March 2009 murder.
The two men, separately, spoke softly and with few words to the media following Friday afternoon’s short appearance in Norfolk Superior Court, only stating that they looked forward to spending the holiday weekend with their families after being held without bail for nearly three years awaiting trail.
“I just feel like it was a longtime coming,” said Karen Regan, Moccia’s sister. “Clearly there is no evidence in this case.”
Bradley’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, said he believed the case against his clients “was over.”
The two men were charged with the murder of Angel Antonio Ramirez, 37 of Framingham, over a $70,000 drug debt owed by Moccia to Ramirez, according to investigators. Prosecutors alleged that they both shot the victim, dismembered him and then “cooked” him in an industrial oven at a plastic-making facility in Norwood.
The district attorney’s office will still investigate the case as a homicide, while the defense called it a “missing persons case.”
Bradley said he was looking forward to seeing his son. As he left the courthouse Friday, he crossed the intersection of Court and High streets and picked up a young boy, hugging him.
“Put yourself in my position,” Bradley said when questioned on how he felt. “and figure it out for yourself.”
Moccia’s attorney, Steven Boozang, of Dedham, told Dedham Patch after the hearing that prosecutors first signaled they may drop the case last week, citing a lack of evidence.
“There’s a significant change of circumstances going back to Jan. 17, 2012,” assistant district attorney Thomas Finigan told Judge Paul E. Troy Friday.
“He made the right decision,” Boozang said of Finigan. “[Finigan] looked at it and saw problems.”
“Being a district attorney does not mean getting a conviction at all costs. Being a district attorney means that you have to, on occasion, take a good hard look at a case and if a case isn’t there, it is the ethical obligation to dismiss the case,” said Reddington.
On Jan. 17, Moccia’s brother, Robert, died of natural causes in New Hampshire. Prosecutors planned to put him on the witness stand during trial. In interviews with investigators, Robert Moccia said his brother told him he committed the crime, and authorities alleged that Robert Moccia drove his brother back to Dedham from Framingham after Paul Moccia dropped off the victim’s truck.
Finigan took over the case earlier this year from lead prosecutor Robert Nelson, who retired from the office.
Since Moccia’s trial hadn’t started – scheduled for April 23 – the motion by prosecutors to drop the case before jury selection means Moccia and Bradley could be charged in the future.
“Because the January death by natural causes of Robert Moccia, brother of Paul Moccia and the witness on whom the case largely rested, it has impossible [sic] to sustain the Commonwealth’s burden at this time,” a Norfolk County DA release stated.
Norfolk County DA spokesperson David Traub declined to comment if Bradley and Moccia remained persons of interest in the ongoing investigation.
There is still an open case against a third co-conspirator, John Murphy, of Plymouth, charged with accessory after a murder. He was arrested in December. Those charges have not been dropped as of Friday afternoon, Traub said.
Traub added anyone with information relating to the case should contact the district attorney’s office.
“There is a strong possibility that there are members of the public with information relative to this homicide who have not shared that information with law enforcement,” Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey said in a release. “Perhaps it was not shared in the belief that the case was solved and it was not necessary to become involved, or in the belief that authorities already know what would be offered or other reasons.”