Marian Ryan

Man Accused in Belmont Road Rage Incident Now Faces Murder Charge

Dean Kapsalis is accused of fatally hitting Henry Tapia with his truck and hurling racial epithets at him

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A Massachusetts man who allegedly ran over another man, killing him, after shouting racial slurs during a road rage incident last week is now facing a murder charge.

The charge against Dean Kapsalis, a 54-year-old from Hudson, was added Monday morning during a court hearing. Kapsalis, accused of fatally hitting a 35-year-old Boston man with his truck and hurling racial epithets at him, also faces motor vehicle and civil rights charges.

A judge ordered Kapsalis be held without bail. A dangerous hearing for him at the court did not occur as expected.

Prosecutors say Kapsalis -- who has a lengthy history of violations behind the wheel -- hit Henry Tapia, who was Black, with his Dodge Dakota truck on Jan. 19 after the two got into an argument.

Kapsalis is alleged to have "intentionally acted to strike the victim with his vehicle following a verbal exchange including those racial slurs that were meant to intimidate and to threaten," Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said last week.

The incident has sparked outrage. Last week, several hundred people gathered Thursday in Belmont to mourn Tapia's death.

Tapia's uncle, Juan Filipe, said the racism made the crime even more horrific.

"It makes it worse. It makes it worse," Filipe said. "You don't feel safe with that kind of people walking the streets."

Belmont police found Tapia on Upland Road near the driver’s side of his car, a Honda Civic, with life-threatening injuries around 4:22 p.m. after receiving a 911 call. First responders tried to stabilize the man and took him to an area hospital, where he later died from his injuries, police said.

Kapsalis allegedly fled the scene before returning to the Belmont Police Department about a half an hour later to turn himself in.

The preliminary investigation suggests that Kapsalis and Tapia both got out of their cars and argued with each other, authorities said. Kapsalis yelled the slurs at Tapia before getting back into his truck and hitting the other man, dragging him a short distance.

One man died and another is facing charges after a fatal road rage fight in Belmont Tuesday, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

Kapsalis' list of driving infractions dates back to 1984, including seven crashes and 18 speeding tickets, according to Registry of Motor Vehicles records found by the NBC10 Investigators. They also show his license has been suspended 10 times.

Neighbors said Tapia lived on Upland Street with his finance. It’s unclear why Kapsalis was in the neighborhood -- Ryan said there was no indication the two men knew each other.

She said the facts of the case "do not speak to the loss of life partner and father suffered by Mr. Tapia's family. We are reminded that incidents like this that are allegedly borne of hateful speech have a lasting impact."

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