Three charged with witness intimidation in connection with Lowell murder

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, at center, looks into the passenger side door of a Chevrolet SUV where an unidentified woman was found dead on Coral Street in Lowell Tuesday afternoon. A spokeswoman for Ryan said the death appears to be suspicious. SUN/Robert Mills
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LOWELL — Three Lowell residents were charged with intimidation of a witness in connection with the murder of 23-year-old Boston resident Deija Mendez on June 23.

Angel Garcia, 29, Devine McKinney, 21, and Selena Simonphone, 22, allegedly lied to police during an investigation into the Coral Street shooting, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.

Police are still searching for 20-year-old Xavier DeJesus, of Lowell, who is charged with murder. McKinney and Simonphone were also charged with helping DeJesus evade police after the killing, a news release states.

Xavier DeJesus, 20, of Lowell, who is wanted on a warrant charging him with the Tuessday night murder of Deija Mendez, 23, who was shot in the head as she sat in a Chevrolet Tahoe on Coral Street. Photo courtesy the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

A preliminary investigation suggests Mendez was shot while sitting in the driver’s seat of a black Chevrolet Tahoe at about 3:30 p.m. Police believe DeJesus may have known the victim and that there was an alleged dispute over the possession of a motor vehicle prior to the shooting.

Lowell Police found Mendez with a gunshot wound to the head. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

DeJesus is charged with murder; discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling; carrying a firearm without a license; and possession of ammunition without an FID card.

Garcia, McKinney and Simonphone were arraigned virtually in Lowell District Court by Judge Daniel Crane on Monday. All three were charged with intimidation of a witness. McKinney and Simonphone face additional charges of accessory after the fact to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Garcia was arraigned on $40,000 cash bail, according to Meghan Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

McKinney’s bail was revoked on an open case, while bail for his latest charge was set at $25,000 cash, Kelly said.

Simphone received a $7,500 cash bail.

According to Kelly, if any of the three make bail, they will be placed under a 24-hour house arrest and will be required to wear a GPS monitoring device.

The trio are slated to next appear in court on July 28.

A warrant for DeJesus’ arrest was issued last week. He is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. The DA’s office urges community members not to approach DeJesus, and to dial 911 or contact the Lowell Police Department at 978-459-8477 with any information.