Christopher Ferguson was ordered held without bail for the alleged “senseless murders” of three elderly Newton residents the DA said were slain in their home in a pre-dawn attack by the shirtless, shoeless suspect.
Ferguson, 41, was arrested late Monday night in connection with the deaths of Bruce D’Amore, 74, Gilda “Jill” D’Amore, 73 and Lucia Arpino, 97, who were found by a friend stabbed and beaten to death in their Nonantum home Sunday morning.
“When the friend got to the residence, she saw that the side door was unlocked,” Middlesex ADA Nicole Allain stated. “She went in, called out and nobody answered. And in a bedroom she discovered both of the D’Amores as well as Mrs. D’Amore’s mother Lucia Arpino, apparently deceased all in the same bedroom.”
Ferguson was charged with murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and burglary and is expected to be brought up on two additional murder charges once the autopsies on the two remaining victims are completed, Middlesex DA Marian Ryan said Monday. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The defendant appeared in the courtroom on Zoom, after the arraignment was delayed several times through the morning and into the afternoon. He had posted a selfie of himself on Facebook that has now gone public.
Defense attorney Dmitry Lev assented to the prosecution’s request to hold the defendant without bail and was granted a request to allow the defendant to appear by Zoom again at the next court date.
The slain family members were found by a friend just after 10 a.m. after they failed to show up for church Sunday morning. The D’Amores were planning to renew their vows in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary and celebrate with friends and family at the church.
The discovery of their bodies kicked off a two-day search for the killer, with police warning residents to lock their windows and doors and remain vigilant.
Police identified Ferguson on a video of a shirtless, shoeless man apparently staggering four-tenths of a mile from the crime scene around 5:20 a.m., Allain said. A warrant for his arrest was issued after investigators obtained a search warrant for his footprint, matching it to a bare footprint discovered on tile at the scene.
Investigators also found a pair of black boots on a porch on Albemarle Street and a suitcase and backpack with Ferguson’s ID nearby, the probable cause statement said.
Investigators spoke with Ferguson’s ex-girlfriend, who said Ferguson had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been in a manic episode since February 2023, and his sister, who described his recent behavior as “erratic,” the statement said.
Saturday night, a person — whose name is redacted — was with the defendant until “they argued and he left around 10:36 p.m.,” the statement detailed. That evening, they did a series of apparently ordinary activities, the unnamed person told police, going to Target, driving by a prospective new apartment, picking up liquor and planning to do laundry.
On Monday, the statement reads, police had Ferguson taken for a Section 12 evaluation — the emergency hospitalization of a person who may be at risk of serious harm due to mental illness — at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. He also had a cut on his right hand consistent with holding a knife, the statement noted.
The defendant has had only one prior offense from 2005 on record, which was dismissed, the prosecution said.
Several family members of the victims gathered in the courtroom Tuesday, faces drawn as the prosecution recited the harrowing details of the case.
The victims’ Our Lady Help of Christians church community has spoken out since the family’s deaths, noting their decades-long, exceptional role in the church.
“This week and for the weeks, months, and years ahead, the brutal and senseless murders of Gilda D’Amore, her husband, Bruno D’Amore, and Gilda’s mother, Lucia Arpino, will stay with us as we come to terms with this unimaginable loss,” Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston said in a statement Tuesday. “They lived their Catholic faith proudly and in service to the Church.”
The next court date is scheduled for July 25 in Newton District Court.