Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday tapped a 24-year veteran of the Suffolk County district attorney's office who has prosecuted some of the county's most serious violent crimes to serve out the last few months of resigning District Attorney Dan Conley's term.
John Pappas has served as chief trial counsel in Conley's office since 2011 and previously worked on the office's homicide unit for a decade. He will take over as interim Suffolk County district attorney Thursday and will serve until January, when the next elected district attorney is sworn in.
"Assistant District Attorney Pappas has demonstrated that he not only has the skill and knowledge to do the job, but also the compassion and respect to serve the people of Suffolk County and the Commonwealth," Baker said in a statement.
Conley, who had been Suffolk district attorney since 2002, announced earlier this month that he would resign to join the legal firm of Mintz Levin and its lobbying arm ML Strategies. Rachael Rollins won the Democratic primary to succeed Conley and faces independent Michael Maloney on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Pappas began his career as a prosecutor in 1994 as a line assistant district attorney in the Boston Municipal Court. He went on to be the supervising assistant district attorney in East Boston District Court and then was promoted to a Superior Court trial team. He later worked in the Gang Unit, Senior Trial Unit and Homicide Unit.
Pappas was the attorney who prosecuted and secured convictions against two men responsible for stabbing Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce in a downtown nightclub in 2000. He also prosecuted the 2013 kidnapping, robbery and murder of Amy Lord in South Boston.
"I'm deeply grateful to Governor Baker for the opportunity to continue the legacy of innovation, excellence and service that District Attorney Conley has built over the past 16 years," Pappas said in a statement. "I'm honored by the chance to lead an office of such talented, dedicated and compassionate men and women who work so hard to achieve justice for the people of Suffolk County."
Conley and former District Attorney Ralph Martin, for whom Pappas also worked, touted Baker's pick of Pappas as "outstanding" and "excellent," respectively.
"John Pappas worked his way up from attending law school at night to supervising more than 150 lawyers responsible for tens of thousands of cases each year and he has served the people of Suffolk County at every level of the office in his career as a prosecutor," Conley said in a statement.
A lifelong resident of West Roxbury, Pappas graduated from Boston Latin School, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and New England School of Law, according to the governor's office.