Dorchester man to spend rest of life in prison for killing childhood friend he thought was a snitch

The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld Frankie Herndon's conviction for fatally shooting his childhood friend, Derrick Barnes, in 2011 because he thought Barnes had snitched on him two years earlier.

The ruling means Herndon, 32, will spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance of parole.

The court ruled that issues raised by Herndon's lawyers about eyewitness testimony were important enough to order changes in the way witnesses are dealt with in future Massachusetts cases, but that they did not prove serious enough to warrant a new trial.

For example, Suffolk County prosecutors had a Boston Police detective testify about how a witness fingered Herndon, then they put the witness on the stand and he testified he did not recall talking to detectives. In the future, the state's highest court ruled, prosecutors should put third-party witnesses such as detectives on the stand only after obtaining testimony from the direct witnesses.

In Herndon's case, the court ruled, that wouldn't have mattered, because the witness was on a prosecution witness list provided to defense attorneys, who had the chance to challenge him in court, and they didn't.

According to the decision, Herndon and Barnes were childhood friends who spent nearly every day together until 2009 - when Herndon was arrested and blamed Barnes for snitching on him and another man, Frederick Henderson. Barnes moved out of they Fayston Street neighborhood, but returned on Aug. 27, 2011 with his brother to visit friends.

Barnes was on a friend's porch around 7 p.m. when Herndon and Henderson, walking down the street, spotted him and got into an argument with him over his alleged snitching. Herndon and Henderson pulled out guns and shot him four times, hitting him in the head. The two began to walk away, but turned around and saw the dying Barnes raise his arm. Herndon shot him again.

A Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted Herndon and Henderson of first-degree murder in 2013.

Developer files plans to replace Brighton synagogue and ritual bath - and add apartments

A developer this week filed formal plans with the BRA to build a new synagogue and mikvah at 101 and 105 Washington St. in Brighton and to supplement them with a 73-unit, seven story apartment building.

Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe and the Daughters of Israel Mikvah both sit in pre-war houses that would be replaced by new buildings, under the proposal by Brookline developer Jeffrey Feuerman. Mikvahs are baths used monthly by observant Jewish women.

It's one of several proposed projects that could mean major changes for Washington Street between Comm. Ave. and Brighton Center - other developers have filed plans for a 679-unit complex behind St. Elizabeth and a 287-unit complex at 139 Washington St.

The 101-105 apartment building, which would be comparable in height to the buildings in the surrounding Fidelis Way project, would have 64 parking spaces and storage space for 73 bicycles.

The three buildings of the Proposed Project derive their massing and form from the varied existing conditions that abut the Site, responding in a cohesive campus that mitigates a transition between several distinct grains in the urban fabric. Materials and articulation are informed by historic building typologies, to give the residential building an appropriate scale and texture, and the Synagogue and Mikvah a civic presence appropriate to their function.

101-105 Washington project notification form (27M PDF).

Sheriff candidates discuss marijuana, ICE detainees, experience for the job

Tompkins (l) and Rhalimi.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins and challenger Alex Rhalimi both oppose legalization of recreational marijuana, but for different reasons.

At a candidate forum sponsored by RoxVote in Hibernian Hall tonight, Tompkins said he worries that legalization would mean gummy bears and other comestibles laced with very potent THC that would prove too attractive to the county's many students - both college-age and younger, to the point where things would quickly "get out of control." Noting that 70% of the inmates in Suffolk County's two jails already have some sort of drug problem, the last thing we need is a new drug problem, he said.

Rhalimi also opposed legalization of recreational marijuana because, he said, it would prove to be a gateway drug to opioids.

Both said they support medicinal use of marijuana, however.

In response to a question from moderator and Globe reporter Meghan Irons, Tompkins said he's started rethinking his contract with the federal government to house people picked up by ICE to await possible deportation, even if they are not facing current criminal charges. Tompkins said he needs to do more research on the issue, however, before making a decision that might affect other parts of his cooperative work with the feds.

Rhalmi, however, had no such qualms: He said if elected he would abrogate the contract to store detainees in Suffolk County jails because of questions over the detainees' constitutional rights. He emphasized, however that immigrants who have committed serious crimes should be booted from the country.

Rhalmi, making his first try for the position, said he has both bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice with additional training in various criminal-justice fields and that building a limousine company from scratch and running it successfully for 17 years shows he has the management experience to lead the $103-million sheriff's department.

Tompkins, sheriff since Andrea Cabral left the post in 2013, said book learning is nice, but hardly the same as his on-the-job experience. "They should re-elect me because I know what I'm doing," he said, adding that growing up in the projects in Harlem gives him a unique perspective on trying to help his inmates break out of the incarceration cycle. He pointed to the launch of a new program, dubbed Oasis, that will provide a 45-day detox program for incoming inmates with drug problems - and pair them with programs that can help them once released from jail.

Rhalimi said he would spend long hours on Beacon Hill if need be to secure more funding for treatment and mental-health programs. Tompkins said that wouldn't work - instead, he said he is setting up a 501(c)(3) charity to try to raise private funds that would go exclusively to Suffolk County programs, rather than possibly being claimed by the state.

The two are running in the Democratic primary on Sept. 8 - a Thursday. In addition to Boston, the jail serves Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere.

Edward Everett Square could get new condos

Architect's rendering.

A used-car dealership at 1258 Massachusetts Ave. would make way for 40 condos in two six-story buildings under plans recently filed with the BRA.

The plans, from developer Douglas George of Roseclair Boston, LLC, also show almost 1,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. He's proposing 37 parking spaces and says five of the condos would be marketed as affordable.

The units would be split between studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

George hopes to begin construction of the $12.5 million project this fall, with completion scheduled for the end of 2017.

Small-project review application (11.1M PDF).