2 Men On Trial For Shooting That Claimed Life Of Boston Youth Worker

Dawnn Jaffier was described by police as an innocent bystander, a beloved youth worker felled by a bullet targeting someone else.

Closing arguments are expected Thursday in the trial of two men accused in connection with Jaffier's 2014 killing on a Boston street during a Caribbean festival.

Dawnn Jaffier (Facebook profile photo)
Dawnn Jaffier (Facebook profile photo)

The two men form an unlikely pair at the defense table. Prosecutors say Keith Williams, 21, fired the shot that killed Jaffier, but was aiming for Wesson Colas, 25, who allegedly drew his gun first, initiating the deadly events.

Both men are charged with first-degree murder.

Jaffier was shot in the head on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester. A second woman, standing three blocks away from the shooting, was grazed by another bullet.

"If Dawnn Jaffier had sneezed," Suffolk County prosecutor Mark Lee said during his opening statement last week, according to The Boston Herald, "if she had bent down to tie her shoe, she might well be alive today."

The 26-year-old grew up in Brighton. She was involved with various youth-oriented nonprofits and worked for the organization Playworks at the time of her death.

"Dawnn Jaffier was exactly the sort of person we need more of," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said at a news conference after the fatal shooting. "She had dedicated herself to making the city and the world a better place."

An acquaintance of Jaffier's from the University of Massachusetts Amherst described her as "a beautiful person, inside and out."

Prosecutors say the shooting was preceded by an encounter at a convenience store.

According to The Boston Globe, Williams' attorney has said that no witnesses saw his client on Blue Hill Avenue on the day of the shooting, and that only a minuscule amount of gunpowder residue — what is considered a negative test result under FBI and state police standards — was found on Williams.

Colas' lawyer, per the Globe, says his client didn't have a gun, and that police never recovered a gun. “This man," attorney Peter Marano said of Colas, "but for the grace of God, could be a victim.”


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Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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