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Judges rips gun access at sentencing of ‘career criminal’

Judges rips gun access at sentencing of ‘career criminal’

By Laura Crimaldi  |   Wednesday, April 27, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Coverage

A Hub judge disgusted by easy access to guns on city streets sentenced a Dorchester “career criminal” to 14 to 15 years behind bars today for paralyzing a 19-year-old who was trying to shield his younger brother from gunfire.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly said the confrontation that left Joao Perreira without the full use of his legs would have only been a quickly forgotten fist fight if the suspect did not have an illegal .357 magnum.

“This was a very, very serious crime that I’m sure nobody thought was going to happen that night,” Connolly said before sentencing Daunte Beal, 23. “Once again the availability of guns. Guns, guns. guns. If the guns were not available this would have never have happened. … The availability of guns is the biggest problem in this city.”

Perreira and his brother, Ovidido, then 15, were at a birthday party on July 13, 2008, when the shooting took place, prosecutors said.

Beal shot at Perreira and his brother after a confrontation with a group of people who threw bottles at Beal’s car. One bottle shattered a car window and struck Beal in the head, drawing blood, prosecutors said.

That incident was preceded by a verbal argument earlier in the evening that was settled amicably, prosecutors said. Authorities said Beal drove to the Howard Avenue party after that confrontation and threatened to slap anyone who had a problem.

After being struck, Beal got out of his car carrying a .357 magnum revolver, prosecutors said. The Perreira brothers and another man ran to the back of a nearby building as Beal tailed them, firing twice. The brothers ran to a porch and tried to open a locked door to escape. Prosecutors said Beal fired three more times at the brothers from 6 to 8 feet away. A bullet struck Jaoa Perreira in the lower back, leaving him in a wheelchair most of the time, prosecutors said.

The brothers did not attend the sentencing.

Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Joseph Janezic asked for a harsher sentence that would have put Beal away for 29 to 30 years. Under career criminal laws, Beal had to serve a minimum of 10 years because of his prior convictions for assault and battery, cocaine possession and assault and battery on a public employee, Janezic said.

Beal, dressed in a sweater, dress shirt, neck tie and eye glasses, waved to his parents and siblings as he was led away in handcuffs and leg shackles.

His father, Leon Beal, said his son is innocent and appealing the jury’s decision.

“I don’t see how he was found guilty,” he said. “I have sympathy for (Perreira) but my concern is for my child.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1333704

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