It was a murder so grisly it upset even the most hardened Boston homicide detectives.
Last Friday, 220 Chelsea St. was turned into an active crime scene after police responded to a call for a man in cardiac arrest but stumbled upon something more sinister.
John Barrientos, 50, of East Boston was found in the alleyway brutally beaten and stabbed. Soon Chelsea Street was sea of police cruisers and detectives searching for clues in the mysterious slaying of Barrientos.
Less than 24 hours later Boston Police picked up a Revere man and said they had sufficient evidence to charge him with the murder.
On Monday, Christian Santa, 20, of Revere was arraigned in East Boston District Court on one single count of murder. Santa plead not guilty to the charges. He was held without bail.
Investigators believe Barrientos was killed in the basement of his Chelsea Street apartment building sometime around 5:00 a.m. on Friday, May 4, and then dragged outside to an alleyway, where his remains were found about an hour later.
“Veteran investigators said this was among the grisliest crime scenes they’d ever encountered,” said D.A. Daniel Conley.
Sources indicated that Barrientos had all his teeth knocked out and was stabbed over 80 times.
Assistant District Attorney Ursula Knight of Conley’s Homicide Unit told East Boston District Court Judge Roberto Ronquillo that Boston Police were dispatched to an alleyway at 220 Chelsea St. on Friday morning for a report of an apparent heart attack. When they arrived they found a bloody scene that suggested foul play. Later an autopsy revealed that Barrientos died as a result of multiple stab wounds and fatal blunt force trauma.
Evidence at the scene led detectives to the boiler room of Barrientos’ Chelsea Street building where investigators believe Barrientos was killed. Knight said the assailant then attempted to remove the body from the basement by dragging it upstairs, then abandoned that effort.
While Santa’s motive remains under investigation, Knight said he and Barrientos were drinking together in the late night hours of May 3 and early morning of May 4. Witnesses told authorities that they later heard screams and “thudding” sounds at about 5:00 a.m. At about 6:00 a.m. Santa made his way home to his residence in Revere.
Investigation at the scene developed “fruitful” leads, Knight said, citing the value of forensic evidence, footwear impressions, and witness statements assembled by homicide detectives.
“Particularly telling were two bloody fingerprints that were analyzed and individualized to the defendant, linking him to the murder,” Knight said.
Based on that evidence, prosecutors approved Santa’s arrest for murder and police took him into custody on Saturday night.
Defense attorney L. Manuel Macias said his client had nothing to do with Barrientos murder, saying that Santa had been drinking with the victim but left to go home to Revere at 5 a.m. and that Barrientos was still alive.
Santa will return to court on July 27.