Newton man held without bail in connection to fatal stabbing

A man pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail Tuesday in connection with a crime that has rattled Newton: the apparently random weekend killings of a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and the woman’s 97-year-old mother.

Jill D’Amore, 73, Bruno D’Amore, 74, were found dead in their home in Newton, along with Lucia Arpino, after the couple failed to show up for Sunday services at Our Lady Help of Christians Church.

Christopher Ferguson, 41, was arrested Monday; he also lives in Newton, but it appears he had no other connection to the victims, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said.

Ferguson pleaded not guilty in Newton District Court to a murder charge in Jill D'Amore's death, along with two counts of assault and one count of burglary. Additional charges are expected in the deaths of her husband and Arpino after those autopsies are completed.

Judge Mary Beth Heffernan ordered Ferguson held without bail until a probable cause hearing July 25. During Tuesday's arraignment, at least eight relatives of the victims listened silently in court as prosecutors detailed their investigation. They left without talking to reporters.

The Rev. Dan Riley, of Our Lady Help of Christians, earlier said the victims were “wonderful people, church-going, kind, hospitable, salt of the earth.” A message to parishioners said the three “lost their lives in a senseless act of violence.”

“Bruno was known for his big voice and his exuberant personality and as ‘head chef’, he proudly flipped the burgers at the parish picnic," wrote Paul and Ginny Arpino, who were related to the victims, in the letter to the church community.

They said Jill D'Amore had taken on the ministry of beautifying the church’s environment.

“Without a single day of liturgical training she simply followed her heart, caring for the flowers and decorating for the liturgical seasons,” they wrote.

Until coronavirus pandemic, Lucia Arpino never missed morning Mass, they said.

“Lucia will be especially missed on the upcoming Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Festa weekend as she faithfully walked in that procession through the streets of Nonantum well into her 90’s,” they wrote.

The preliminary investigation indicated the victims died of stab wounds and blunt force trauma, Ryan said. Investigators found signs of forced entry into the basement, and Ryan described a chaotic scene in which there were “obvious signs of struggle.” A crystal paperweight was covered in blood, and furniture was broken.

There was an attempted break-in about a half-mile from the victims’ home early Sunday, but it’s unclear if the two crimes were related, Ryan said.



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