Somerville Police Department
220 Washington St
Somerville, MA 02143
(In Union Square)
East Substation: 81 Broadway
West Substation: 1114 Broadway

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Man Charged in 2009 Murder of Somerville Man



WOBURN – A Somerville man has been charged with murder for the 2009 homicide of 24-year-old Christopher Souza of Somerville, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone informed the public today.

             Michael Barnett, 32, of Somerville, was indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on charges of murder, armed robbery and witness intimidation for the November 22, 2009 death of Christopher Souza.  In addition, a second defendant, Kelly Murray, 32, of Somerville, was charge with witness intimidation (two counts).

            Barnett will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court; a date has not yet been scheduled.  Murray was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on March 29, 2013 where Assistant Clerk Magistrate Matt Day ordered her held on $5,000 cash bail with conditions to stay away from any witnesses and comply with current conditions of probation on an unrelated case.

             “Thanks to a committed and persistent team of investigators and prosecutors, coupled with new public awareness of this previously unsolved case, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office obtained new evidence that helped lead to the indictment of the defendant for this senseless strangulation murder,” District Attorney Leone said.  “I applaud the commitment of the Somerville Police and Massachusetts State Police to investigate this crime and work to bring justice for Christopher and his family.”

             According to police, the victim was discovered by his mother lying motionless on his living room floor in the morning of November 23, 2009.  The victim had several cords wrapped around his neck and was determined to be deceased.  An autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be strangulation by ligature and the manner of death to be homicide.  An investigation was launched.  The investigation revealed that the victim’s Xbox and Playstation video game systems were missing from the apartment in which he lived.

             Recent news coverage of the case helped to generate new leads in the investigation which lead to the charges.

             According to authorities, it is alleged that on the night of November 22, 2009, Barnett was looking to buy drugs but did not have any money to pay for the drugs. 

             It is alleged that Barnett went to the victim’s home in Somerville late that evening.  The defendant allegedly stole the victim’s Xbox and Playstation video game systems and strangled the victim to death with the cords from the game consoles.

             It is further alleged that the defendant then sold the Playstation for $50, using the money to buy drugs.  Police were able to confirm the IP address of the Playstation and contacted the buyer who had activated Souza’s online account.  The buyer alleged he purchased the game system from Barnett.

             Murray, the girlfriend of the defendant, is charged with intimidating a witness for allegedly lying to police during the investigation.

             The case was investigated by Somerville Police and State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

             The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Chris Tarrant.  The Victim Witness Advocate is Anne Foley.


Two suspects Arrested for Armed Home Invasion

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Somerville Police responded to 60 Derby Street for a report of a breaking and entering in progress. Police officers arrived on the scene within one minute of receiving the call, and observed two suspects fleeing the area. Officers pursued on foot. After a brief struggle, the first suspect was quickly subdued and placed in custody. The second suspect was spotted by a responding detective in the area and pursued on foot to 15C Memorial Road.

Somerville Police assisted by State Police and Medford Police converged on the area and secured the perimeter. The nearby Healey School – a K-8 facility - and two day care centers were placed in external lock down, and City officials utilized Blackboard Connect mass notification systems to keep residents informed. As police began an evacuation of 15 Memorial Road, officers spotted a suspect hiding in an apartment. He was placed under arrest without incident. Two firearms which may be connected to this incident were recovered by police.

One officer was injured in apprehending the first suspect. Both suspects will be charged with Armed Home Invasion and other charges as the investigation develops. The identity of the suspects will be withheld until verified.




is presented for outstanding dedication and effort for the month of March 2013 to

Robyn DeFranzo

Robyn DeFranzo has been a dedicated and hard working member of the Somerville Police Department as an E-911 Operator for the last 16 years. Anyone who has worked in Dispatch understands that compassion and the ability to work under stress are both critical factors. Probably nothing better supports this contention then the actions of Ms. DeFranzo on the morning of February 5th, 2013 when Ms. DeFranzo received a call from an eight year old boy stating that he couldn’t wake his mom up and thought she had died. As the call was being transferred for medical dispatch, Robyn continued to monitor the call while simultaneously seeking to locate any nearby police units to respond and bring comfort to this little boy. During this time, Robyn kept the very young and scared boy calm, giving him direction to facilitate the emergency response and bringing compassion to a very unfortunate situation. This was a heart-wrenching incident which certainly struck an emotional chord with everyone involved. The display of compassion and kindness under the most stressful situations exemplifies the professionalism of Ms. DeFranzo and our 911 dispatchers. The actions taken by Ms. DeFranzo were beyond the call of duty and merit this special recognition.


Thomas Pasquarello, Chief of Police

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