Dorchester teen charged with shooting Dawnn Jaffier in the head

Around 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, Keith Williams took out a loaded .357 revolver at Blue Hill Avenue and McLellan Street and began firing into a crowd of people waiting for the J'Ouvert parade, assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Mark Lee said today.

One of the bullets hit Dawnn Jaffier in the head as she stood a block away at Charlotte Street, killing her, Lee said. Another bullet traveled more than four blocks down Blue Hill Avenue, hitting another woman in the leg as she sat on a curb with her friends.

A Dorchester District Court judge ordered Williams, 18, held without bail today on charges he murdered Jaffier, 26, of Brighton. As Lee recited the case against him, Williams stood behind a door so he could hear the charges but so that Jaffier's family, seated in the front row of the First Session courtroom, could not see him no matter how far they craned their necks.

Lee said after shooting his gun, Williams and two pals ran down McLellan and turned onto Drummond, where Williams tried to hide the gun in a yard. Police, aided by a large number of witnesses who had spotted the trio, quickly pointed police to them and they were detained soon after, Lee said.

Lee said ballistic tests on the bullet recovered from Jaffier and on the bullet recovered from the American Legion victim showed a match with the gun police recovered.

Top BPD officials - Supt. in Chief Robert Gross, Chief of Investigative Services Robert Merner, Deputy Superintendent Robert Brown and Deputy Superintendent Bernard O'Rourke - all attended the arraignment. Police Commissioner William Evans was at a simultaneous press conference with DA Dan Conley to announce the charges against Williams.

In a statement, Conley said:

Today’s arraignment of Keith Williams on murder charges marks a major step in the investigation into Dawnn Jaffier’s homicide, but I want to be clear – it is not the last step. The investigation does not stop here, and we can’t afford for potential witnesses to become complacent now that a suspect has been identified. We’ve gotten some helpful information from the public over the past few days, but we know there are others out there with information that could prove extremely valuable to this case.

I want to address those witnesses directly. If you have specific information about this homicide, or even more general observations about individuals in the area at the time it occurred, please come forward. Investigators have been working this case around the clock to gather ballistics, commercial video surveillance, and other evidence, but they still need witnesses who can say what they heard, what they saw, and what they know.

Innocent, etc.



Free tagging: 


Good turnaround

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Good job by law enforcement to quickly process what seems to be a pretty open and shut case. I hope that there aren't any technical issues during the trial and this guy goes away for a long, long time.

Legal question - this is still likely a first degree murder charge, even though she wasn't targeted right?

Pretty sure that's right

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I think that killing the wrong person by mistake can still land you with a murder conviction as if you had killed your target.

Transfer of intent, or something like that.


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I have to think that opening fire into a crowd would satisfy the "extreme atrocity" prong of the law.

I'm guessing no.

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My recollection is "extreme atrocity" means something a bit different from shooting into a crowd. More along the lines of an extremely painful death.

I can't find it stated

I can't find it stated anywhere but I'm assuming the individual is charged with first degree under the theory of transferred intent, as the commenter above mentioned. The old phrase is "intent follows the bullet." You're right that the extreme atrocity element is usually for extremely vicious acts of moral depravity, generally speaking.

My sister knew Ms. Jaffier and worked with her on some of these initiatives mentioned. Heartbreaking.

What a senseless thing to do.

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What a senseless thing to do. What warped mind would open fire on a crowd because of a perceived insult or slight?

People should be forced to

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People should be forced to appear at court "appearances". This 'tough guy' hiding their faces once caught crap needs to end.

i think it has something to

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i think it has something to do with not tainting witnesses who might identify him.

As the witnesses to my child

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As the witnesses to my child's fathers case!.. They wer tainted and case pretty much flew out the damn window

According to an article in

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According to an article in the Globe on the topic:

Outside court, defense attorney John M. Galvin said the suspect had a lot of family members in attendance. He said Williams did not appear in public because “identification is always a very important issue.”

So no, this is not solely for the suspect's benefit; this is also to try and avoid any tainting of witnesses who may be able to identify him, once they see him in court.

May her spirit rest in peace...

From what I have been reading about her, Ms. Jaffier seemed like a beautiful person to walk this earth. May her beautiful spirit rest in peace...

Doesn't bring her back

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It doesn't reverse anything. It doesn't deter the next idiot with a gun. It doesn't change anything except that he stops living at our hands, just like she's not living anymore at his. How does becoming more like him make all of us better in the end?

You despise him for what he did and to whom he did it with good justification assuming we've gotten the right person. But that's not a good motive to murder anyone.

I don't know by what stretch

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I don't know by what stretch of logic the death penalty can be said to be a murder by "our" hands and we are thereby equated with a murderer of an innocent bystander.

Agree and Disagree

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Kaz, I agree with your opposition to the death penalty but not your reasoning.

The death penalty is a permanent, irreversable step in a system that has any number of deliberately-designed appeals and remedies for the flaws and mistakes that will always occur in a human system.

But to write it off because "it won't bring her back" is an utterly empty argument. Life in prison won't bring her back. Stronger federal gun laws to keep New Hampshire guns off of Boston streets won't bring her back. Absolutely nothing will bring her back, and yet something must be done to punish the person who did this and prevent him and others from doing it again and show her family and the rest of the world that killing her was an act we condemn.

If "bringing her back" is the only measure of effectiveness for a response to murder, then nothing is effective and we can all just pack it in and say "Go ahead, kill anyone you like, you will never face any consequence because it can't be undone." Anti-DP advocates (of whom, again, I am one) need to drop this argument because it falls apart upon the very first glance.

It would be more useful ensure public events held in places with recurring shooting incidents are properly swept and secured prior to and during the event.

Whatever becomes of the gun runt is less important than the far more demanding chore of getting this part of the city to the same basic level of security and life quality as any other.

The city was over prepared for a possible return of Chechen hillbilly pressure cookers at the marathon, but it would appear to be fairly under prepared for this more likely hazard.

Swept and secured? How would you do that?

Blue Hill Ave is a major public street with a few hundred side streets leading off it in both directions. You can't seal it off without bringing the whole neighborhood to a halt. Even during the two parades (and between them), people still need to get on and off buses*, buy groceries, go to CVS, eat in restaurants, etc. Not to mention that lots of people actually live on this street -- their front doors empty out onto its sidewalks.

* all through J'ouvert, the 28 and 29 buses kept running up and down the other (non-parade) side of Blue Hill Ave, which was temporarily converted to a two-way street.

The same way they secure Boylston for the Marathon.


It might scale differently and have different elements, but still.

One place got lavished with security while another was short changed.

Things are supposed to be suspended for the duration of an event anyway. It's a parade. They don't run the bus through the middle of it, right?

And if they get this car race pipe dream up and running in Seaport are they just going to run buses in and out of the race lanes to make it more interesting? maybe even a few pedestrians too?

Lots of people live along Boylston street too.. right?

I think they are in those high rise things next to the pru.

Obviously there are particulars to handle but this is an unusual problem area. Boylston next to the Pru doesn't have routine small arms skirmishes.

Sure you can slough it off.

It is a ways from Davis square but I don't see how pretending this isn't a micro war zone is going to help anyway and it would surely send a 'message'.

Either there is a reasonably coherent and situation-appropriate level of preparation for a messy public event or there isn't.

This is just typical Boston slovenliness for a neighborhood that has been marginalized forever.

Which public events?

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How do you pick and choose which public events to go through this "pre-screening?"

All of them? Only the ones in Dorchester? Would this then not turn into racial profiling?

It's nice to think that there would be no "copycats" for the most recent
Boston Marathon but I don't think it's ever public knowledge how many actual threats are received.

Until there's a sea change in many areas of our society this is unfortunately going
to be a chronic issue.


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35k vs 5k participants - these are very different events.

I wasn't there but was the police presence really that low? There were cops close enough to get this guy in the act of tossing his gun pretty much, thanks to cooperative witnesses and it was 8am, not exactly prime time for the thug set.


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The staffing is probably higher for the Caribbean Festival than the marathon. They cancel all discretionary days off and bring in hundreds of officers on overtime. They start the OT a few days ahead of the festival with warrant sweeps and probation checks. Officers work Friday day right through the night into the Jouvert and the festival. I can tell you for the officers I know its the worst weekend of the year. I bet freedom of information could resolve the issue of staffing costs. It is curious why they didn't cancel the parade following the shooting.

I agree

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It's ridiculous how many times I've been questioned or forced out of a secured area (public street) because a movie was being filmed. Maybe hire those people to check out parade routes.

Cracking down on these events wouldn't be racial profiling. That they don't put as much into securing these events as they do for something like the marathon is racial/economic profiling.

The marathon is a tourist event that generates a ton of money for the city. Of course they want to keep it safe. Making a safe area for Dorchester residents to have a celebration is much lower on the priority list.

And of course no one is shocked when someone is killed at a Dorchester parade, unlike on Boylston street. It feels like an accepted part of life in that area, and it will be until those residents are valued as much as, say, elite runners and tourist dollars.

That's my main point.

And of course no one is shocked when someone is killed at a Dorchester parade, unlike on Boylston street. It feels like an accepted part of life in that area, and it will be until those residents are valued as much as, say, elite runners and tourist dollars.

I'm not looking for blame assessment so much as how we got to the point where one event locus, downtown Boston, can get absurd coverage with many unusual considerations while another in an area with chronic shooting problems gets fairly standard coverage beyond more robust officer staffing presence.

Do people at the marathon screech about police state encroachment? Do we even need to view police as potentially intrusive?

I like the cops where I live. They are really part of the community and not some problematic authority figures.

Wouldn't it be something to see that become more common?

It's also gratifying to see some input from people who actually live there about this whether they agree with me or not.

I have never been to either event. I don't do mass spectacle events. If I were to chose one of the two it wouldn't be the marathon. I'm more of a cultural diversity, food and music fan than I am of jock things like running for 24 miles.

Hell, I wouldn't run for 24 feet if it isn't really urgent.

It might not

..'make' anything but it might 'help' something.

Someone else was shot near there in the 2am to 3am time frame. So that is like a clue that people were out and about doing a bit of shooting 5 to 6 hours before this killing.

Maybe it isn't about working harder with massiveness but working smarter.

In any case, is it better to just shrug it off or is it better to look for improvements that will substantially reduce the chance that a bystander will get shot in the head?

I'm leaning toward the 'look for improvement' side as it sure seems like the neighborhood would appreciate any improvement in this critical area that it can get.

The shrug it off argument has its fans too, I just wonder how many of them actually live there.


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We can flood the neighborhood with police, implement stop and frisk and get the thugs off the streets in no time like Giuliani did in NYC. But then you'll be the first one bitching and moaning about it.

Turning public celebrations into police state is NOT the answer

The Boston Marathon final segment on Boylston Street is four blocks long, on a street that is overwhelmingly commercial. The few people who live on it (in those Prudential tower blocks) can use other streets such as Huntington Ave, Dalton St, and West Newton Street to get where they need to go.

The J'Ouvert parade is 1.4 miles long, from Morton Street up Blue Hill to the Franklin Park Zoo.

The main carnival parade is also 1.4 miles long, from MLK Blvd and Walnut Street, down MLK and Warren St and Blue Hill Ave to the Zoo.

Both of these routes are full of houses, apartments, retail stores, restaurants, churches, and just about anything else you might expect to find on major neighborhood arterial streets.

Your suggestion is totally infeasible, and it would turn the whole neighbohood against the police if you tried.

hit a too close to home

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I learned today that Dawnn was the niece of a friend of mine. The family is obviously devastated and receiving an outpouring of a support. The sympathy and condolences felt for my friend and his family have really brought this closer to home for me.


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Don't hold your breath. Luckily an off-duty cop saw it. I bet he's the only one who takes the stand.

Life is too damn short!..

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I am a victim of senseless violence and/or Drama!.. Wether it was directed to a target, or in a crowd it still does not make it right! No one had any right to take anyone's life.. PERIOD!!.. My child's father was murdered a decade and a half ago and the culprits only did minimal sentences like WHY!!.. They will never come back!!. They deserve the full punishment.. rot in jail!!.. I hope the receive the maximum punishment because she did not deserve that again no one does!... Harmless woman that was full of life and all about the empowering her life was cut short.. So sad!!... May God b with her family!! Thankfully justice will b served!..

Illegal gun/ammo charges should be 25+ years

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No exceptions/ no BS. Hard time for holding or shooting gun/ammo. Then lax drug laws. non--violent drug charges are scoped down.
Gun charges are maxed out. Only for illegal possession and use. Thus no beef from lobbyists.

I actually understand that many of these kids carry and use guns b/c of perceived threats to their own safety.

Make the penalty for those offending and defending so harsh that they'll settle beefs in a different way.

Gimme a break...

What is this? West Side Story?

You realize that the people in this life do not care about going to prison. It is not a deterrent in any way.

The problem is this parade. It's an issue in every city, every year. How many people will be shot in NYC this weekend? There were people stabbed in London at a pre Carnival party last week. It's time to start treating these people like children - if you can't behave, it's getting taken away. I don't care if 99.99999% of the attendees behave, on bad apple ruins the bunch.

Not quite

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Prison is not a deterrent because vast majority of the sentences handed down nowadays are laughably short - gun-toting thug in training would view going to prison for six months or a year as a rite of passage and a chance to network. 10 years minimum for illegal gun possession and 25 minimum for gun trafficking, none of that cutesy illegal search crap when dealing with gun offenders, and Roxbury will be just as safe as Brookline in no time at all. The only sure way you can break the cycle of violence is by locking up existing gangbangers and making new ones too scares to take their place.

Great Job Bpd ! And The Community !

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Its Shameful That You Can't Go Or Just Affraid To Go To Cummumity Events ! That You Looked Forward To As A Kid,Haven't Been To Any Of The Festivals Since 1988 And Won't Be Going. These Street Conflicts Are An Have Taking The Lifes Of So Many Innocent People Little Kids Minding There Business Playing In Play Grounds ! And So On , And All For What . Someone Came On Your Block That You Don't Even Own, The City Does ! You Have To Know That If You Shoot Into Any Crowd That You Could Kill Anyone Not Just The Attended Target , Unless Your Just Plain Stupid To Think Otherwise ! So Even If The Young Lady Wasn't The Intended Target Or Not Of Found Guilty All Involved Should Receive The Maximum Sentence. There Are Choices In Life And There Are Consequences As Well. At Least The Family Can Still Go And Visit And Hug And Talk To Him. The Family Of This Young Inspiring Young Lady Will Have To Go To The Cemetery To Visit There Child.

At least it wasn't all caps

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Just way too many of them. However, like you said, working on that and a few spelling and punctuation items and it's a great point.