Bampumim Teixeira, the man accused of murdering two doctors in their South Boston penthouse, has had more than one brush with the law -- and has previously faced deportation.
Last year, Teixeira was arrested for robbing a Boston bank. The Suffolk County DA's office agreed to a plea in that case and recommended a sentence that some experts say could have helped him avoid deportation.
Teixeira's charges were reduced from robbery to larceny from a person. The DA and the defense attorney recommend that the judge sentence Teixeira to 364 days in prison. That's one day shy of what experts say would have likely triggered deportation.
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He was caught -- the prosecutor told the judge -- because he used his Charlie card on the MBTA to getaway. Police tracked the card activity to see Teixeira often got on and off the T at the Broadway stop in South Boston. Detectives took a photo from security footage and canvassed the area around the Broadway stop. They asked doormen and security guards if they recognized him.
The prosecutor said, “They show them the photograph. One of the security officials for a condominium complex says, ‘Yeah. That looks like a fellow employee that I know. He goes by JJ.”
We now know that Teixeira worked briefly as a concierge at the luxury condo complex where police say last week he killed two doctors. Police don't have a motive and and are trying to figure out what may have turned a relatively small-time thief into an alleged, but vicious murderer. And did prosecutors miss an opportunity to get the Cape Verdean immigrant out of this country?
In his sentencing last year, Judge Sinnott told Teixeira, “If you are not a citizen of the United States, the acceptance of this court of your plea of guilty may have the consequence of deportation.”
Attorney Jesse Bless says had Teixeira been sentenced to 365 on the robbery charge, his conviction would have been classified as an aggravated felony, what Bless calls the death blow for non-citizens. “You will be removed and likely removed in short order.”
Immigration Attorney Jeannie Kain said there is not necessarily fault to be laid at the feet of prosecutors. “Deportation for many people is a life sentence or even a death sentence.”
She says often if a crime is not violent or if the prosecutor isn't confident of a trial conviction, they will recommend the lesser sentence -- keeping the suspect in the country -- to get a guilty plea. And because Teixeira had two convictions of “moral turpitude” on his record he could have been deported either way. “He's still going to be in removal proceedings,” she said. “ He's still going to have to appear in front of an immigration judge and defend himself and the judge can still say no."
A spokesman for the Suffolk County DA defended the plea in an email saying, “No plea in any criminal case automatically results in a person being deported. It is a far more complicated and variable process than that. In fact, Federal immigration law is so complex and variable that state prosecutors strive to focus our work on accountability in Massachusetts courts, where, for this defendant, they obtained a nine-month committed sentence followed by three years of court supervision on a case that involved no weapon, no actual use of force, and no injuries, with a defendant with no criminal record.”
A spokesman for the Immigration Customs Enforcement would not say whether or not Teixeira had an immigration hearing after he was released from the House of Correction. He would only tell us ICE has no ”legal position” with Teixeira at this time, but they will be keeping an eye on the murder charges.