The fatal knife attack Friday night that killed a 38-year-old mother of five at the Old Colony housing project was fueled by drugs, according to investigators, marking the fourth narcotics-related homicide so far this year in South Boston — an alarming trend that has politicians and police vowing to crack down even harder on pushers polluting the community.
“We are very concerned about what’s going on in the neighborhood and we will continue to work hard at it,” said state Sen. Jack Hart, who helped push for a drug “strike force” to target the opiate-ravaged enclave after the April break-in killing of Barbara Coyne, who cops say was stabbed to death by a family friend looking to steal her son’s valuable fishing gear to score drugs. “It’s an all-hands-on-deck approach.”
Since the 67-year-old grandmother’s April 16 slaying, Boston police, teaming up with DEA agents, have beefed up enforcement in Southie, making more than 200 arrests — 93 of them drug-related, BPD spokesman Sgt. Mike McCarthy said yesterday.
But still the spate of homicides continues, the latest on Friday at 8:30 p.m. when Sara Kelly, 20, described as homeless, got into a fight with a 38-year-old woman and plunged a knife twice into her chest, killing her inside a male friend’s second-floor apartment on East 9th Street, across the street from where the victim lived with her mother and sister, according to police and neighbors.
The slaying comes less than three weeks after Diane Bourglas, 54, a nursing home aide, and Richard Hallahan, 70, a Vietnam veteran and family friend, were found dead inside her torched apartment in the Boston Housing Authority’s West Broadway development. Bourglas had been bludgeoned and Hallahan stabbed to death before the apartment was set ablaze May 27. Police have made no arrests in the case.
McCarthy said all three incidents, which have led to four killings in South Boston — there were none last year at this time — were drug-related.
Responding to the deadly toll, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said yesterday: “I am committed to putting an end to the behavior that negatively impacts the quality of life for hard-working, law-abiding residents of South Boston and across the city.”
Police have declined to release the name of Friday’s victim, but said she knew her attacker.
Mike Welch, 24, remembered his longtime neighbor as a fun-loving, motherly figure who was popular in the housing development and had five children.
“She was a great girl. My birthday was just last month, and her and my uncle got me a birthday cake. I am always going to remember that. We hung out all the time,” said Welch. “She was outgoing, adventurous. ... Just an all-around good person who was always there for you if you needed her.”
Boston Hearald By Richard Weir