The callous murder of Richel Nova, 58, last week has devastated friends and family here because Nova was, by all accounts, a caring man and described as a ‘saint’ by many in the community. He adored his children who all did well in life. His twin 20-year-old daughters both graduated from the prestigious Boston Latin School and are juniors in college. Both worked summers at City Hall.
Family members, some of whom live right here in East Boston, described him as a hardworking man that always did the right thing and dedicated his life to his family.
His son, Irving Lara, an East Boston resident, like his father is a hard worker and is employed as a mechanic at Logan Airport,
“The whole family is just destroyed,” said Lara, 22, to the Boston Globe. “He was like glue. He kept us together, I’m trying to do everything for my dad right now.’’
Lara said the last time he spoke to his father was when Nova was coming back from taking his daughters to college in North Adams.
“I had to give him directions. He went out there with my mother and on the way back wanted to know the exit because last time he got lost,’’ said Lara.
Hyde Park residents Michel Andre St. Jean, 20, and Alexander Emmanuel Gallett, 18, and Yamiley Mathurin, 17, of Mattapan pleaded not guilty Tuesday on charges of Nova’s murder, armed robbery and breaking and entering.
Prosecutors said the trio planned to kill Nova all along.
“It was never their intention that Richel Nova would be leaving that home in any other way but a body bag,” said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Hickman in court Tuesday.
According to Hickman, when Mathurin called Domino’s in Hyde Park she asked odd questions about how much money the driver would be carrying.
When Nova arrived at the 742 Hyde Park Ave. address, Hickman said Mathurin told Nova to go to the back door and then went back into the house after saying she forgot her wallet.
It was at this time St. Jean and Gallett emerged from a hiding place inside the abandoned home and began stabbing Nova repeatedly.
The trio then rifled through Nova’s pockets and, according to Hickman, the three suspects agreed he ‘had to be finished off’.
The suspects checked his pockets one last time before slitting his throat and leaving him to die.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said he was deeply disturbed by the homicide.
“This weekend we remember America’s working men and women, the laborers and salt of the earth who built our nation in the trades and services,” said Conley. “Richel Nova was just such a man, but for his family this time will be remembered for something else – something terrible and tragic.”
Conley said it would take time to determine exactly what happened inside 742 Hyde Park Ave.
“His killers likely didn’t target him personally, but they selected a worker who would be carrying the small amount of money they felt was worth a human life,” he said. “They stabbed him repeatedly, killing him. They fled the scene in his car, taking the money and food he had brought.”
Conley called this homicide particularly chilling and callous.
“The stabbing death of Heureur Previlon, an aspiring minister killed in his taxicab five years ago, is a point of reference. So is the shooting death of Surendra Dangol, a peaceful Nepali immigrant shot to death behind a shop counter in Jamaica Plain last year. I put Mr. Nova’s murder in this category,” he said. “They were working men who asked nothing more than the chance to earn an honest day’s pay. Their lives were taken as they labored long hours to support themselves and their families. They’re among those we should remember. And I ask you to keep their families in your prayers.”