LOWELL -- The second suspect connected to the apparent homicide of a Walker Street man last Thursday morning was arraigned Monday in Lowell District Court and ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing this Friday.
Jeffrey Puryear, 24, of Dracut, faces a single charge of armed assault in a dwelling for allegedly breaking into the apartment of of Saro Mann, 40, of 171 Walker St., and allegedly beating Mann early Thursday morning.
The first suspect, Samundi Cobb, 41, of 215 Cross St., Lowell, was arraigned Friday on the same charge as Puryear. He is also being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for this Friday.
Mann was discovered Thursday, about 2:45 a.m., when his live-in girlfriend returned to the apartment and found him on the living-room floor with his hands duct-taped behind his back, a cloth laundry bag over his head and duct tape wrapped around his neck, according to a police report. Mann had several bloody cuts on his hands, head and back.
Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Clarence Brown said police were able to identify a witness who had been at the scene, along with connections to a white van and a residence not far from Walker Street.
"Through some investigation involving the vehicle that had been identified, Lowell Police were able to identify two individuals in Lowell who presently have custody of that vehicle, one of whom was the defendant before you," Brown said.
The witness told investigators he had been at Mann's apartment Wednesday night, smoking crack and using heroin with Mann and the two other men, according to the police report. The witness told police one of the men had an argument with Mann because he "wanted more crack cocaine for his money," according to the report.
The witness said he watched the men break into Mann's apartment, according to a police report. They allegedly left with a safe, a Playstation, Mann's cell phone and other items, and returned a short time later armed with a meat cleaver and duct tape, according to a police report.
The man told police he heard Mann moaning inside the apartment and snuck up to the window, where he saw the men put a cloth bag over Mann's head, tie his hands behind his back and begin beating him, according to a police report.
After the two men left, the witness said he entered the apartment and watched Mann first struggle to breathe, then stop breathing, according to a police report. The witness said he left, distraught, but there was no mention in a police report of him contacting authorities or calling for help during or after the incident.
Brown and defense attorney Christopher Spring had a lengthy sidebar discussion with Fortes at the beginning of Puryear's arraignment. Details of the motions discussed in the sidebar were not revealed in open court.
During the lengthy sidebar discussion, Puryear frequently looked at a group of people in the back of the courtroom. The group quickly left after Puryear was taken out of the room following his arraignment.
A spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney's Office declined to comment last week on why Puryear and Cobb are not charged with murder. Prosecutors could upgrade the charges at any time.