STONEHAM, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) - Two men have pleaded not guilty to charges including murder in the fatal shooting last week of an Army veteran at a home in Stoneham.
A prosecutor said at their arraignment Monday that 24-year-old Jessie Williams of Medford and 19-year-old Eugene Tate of Malden intended to pull off a drug robbery, and shot two men after an argument.
Twenty-seven-year-old Joseph Puopolo was killed, and a 28-year-old man was wounded.
The Middlesex District Attorney's Office says Puopolo went to the home at the request of a friend who had arranged to sell drugs to the defendants. The friend was concerned the defendants might try to rob him.
Prosecutor Tom O'Reilly said Williams told police about the circumstances. Tate's attorney questioned the credibility of witnesses who said her client took part.
Williams and Tate were charged with murder, armed assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm Sunday.
Stoneham police responded to a home at 6 Micah's Pond Way just after midnight on July 3 for the report of gunshots. When officers arrived, they found Puopolo and another man with gunshot wounds. Puopolo was pronounced dead at Leahy Clinic, and the other man was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and is in stable condition.
Investigators said the 28-year-old arranged to sell drugs to Williams and Tate at the home and called Puopolo believing the sale might be a setup. Police said when the two other men arrived, they drew guns, demanded drugs and money and then shot Puopolo and the other man.
Joseph Alessandro, who is the godfather of the victim, told FOX 25 that Puopolo lived in Stoneham. Allesandro said the 28-year-old lived at the home with his mother and stepfather. He said the stepfather is a Medford police officer.
Alessandro told FOX 25 Puopolo wanted to be a police officer, specifically a state trooper. He also reflected on the type of life Puopolo led. "He'd give you the shirt off his back," he said.
"You know what happened to him? He was in the service - I got the phone call," said Alessandro. "Some kid stepped on a mine. He lost his foot. Joseph picked up the guy's toe and sewed it back together. He got a reward from the military. He saved the guy's life."