|Teenager Arraigned on First-Degree Murder Charges|
|By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff |
02:52PM / Monday, March 29, 2021
|District Attorney Andrea Harrington gives a briefing on the arraignment of 17-year-old Angel Nieves.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The teenage stepson of Benjamin "Chuck" Martinez Jr. has been arraigned in his murder last week in an Adams apartment that police say is a known drug trafficking site.
Angel Nieves, 17, was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday on first-degree murder charges. District Attorney Andrea Harrington said she will be seeking from a grand jury.
According to police reports, Martinez was found shot in the head on Thursday night by a female acquaintance who called police about 9:08 p.m. The murder weapon is said to be a small semi-automatic handgun, probably a .38. The autopsy report stated that Martinez was killed by a single shot to the back of the head.
Nieves was purportedly given this type of gun by Martinez because they worked together in the drug trade, according to the police report. Harrington declined to say if the weapon had been recovered but said she was "confident that we have more than enough probable cause for the current complaint against Mr. Nieves."
She also declined to comment on if any other individuals are under investigation.
The case is unusual for the area because of the age of the suspect, Harrington said. "Mr. Nieves is a 17-year-old defendant, under the current statute, he is being prosecuted basically the way that any individuals are prosecuted for murder. That's a fairly new procedure here in Massachusetts."
Nieves name had initially been withheld because of his age.
A separate witness interviewed by police put the murder close to 2:30 p.m., saying he had gone to the second-floor apartment to buy crack and had heard a gunshot and seen the body on the third floor.
The witness, whose name is withheld in the report, told police a young man he knew as "G" sold him the drugs and told him someone had been hiding upstairs and stealing drugs from him. G went upstairs where Martinez, of Springfield, had been reportedly subletting; there was a noise like a gunshot, G came rushing down with his things, then told the witness to go upstairs and get his phone charger.
"I complied out of fear since I thought for sure that he was going to kill me," the witness said. "As soon as I got to the top of the stairs, I found a guy lying on the floor who was dead."
The lack of public transportation made it difficult for G to leave the area — no buses or cabs or Ubers were immediately and he was calling people trying to get a ride to Springfield or Pittsfield after the witness took the opportunity to flee. He was arrested in Springfield on Friday.
G is described as medium height, thin, with frizzy hair and light brown skin. He was wearing a white T-shirt and black backpack as he walked down Park Street. Martinez's mother told police that Nieves was his stepson though it was not clear if Martinez and the teen's mother were married, though they reportedly have children together.
Martinez lived in Springfield and worked as a roofer but he apparently spent a good deal of time in the Berkshires engaged in selling drugs, according to several people interviewed by police.
"Money, money. Everyone knows what happens in Adams and North Adams, street life," the woman who found him told police.