Local Drug Case Probably Will Not Be Overturned After Lab Scandal

There was some speculation that the fallout from the state’s drug lab scandal would result in the release of an East Boston man convicted of torching a cat back in 2007 and for drug possession in 2011. However, Suffolk County District Attorney Office spokesman, Jake Wark, announced last week that would not be the case.

Luigi Epifania, 29, was convicted in 2011 of possession of Oxycontin pills, a drug that has reached epidemic proportions in Eastie. Epifania was best known for killing a cat and then trying to toss its flaming corps through the window of a home back in 2007. Epifania served time for the cat incident but while out on probation was arrested during a drug transaction and was found to be carrying 150 Oxycontin pills. Judge Charles Spurlock, who presided over Epifania’s earlier trial and plea, re-sentenced Epifania to a term of 3 to 5 years in prison at a probation surrender hearing in 2011.

Last week, Judge Christine McEvoy declined to address Epifania’s case during a Drug Court session. While defendants were being released from prison because chemist Annie Doohkan, who admitted to mishandling evidence, had handled their drug-related convictions–Epifania case was not heard during the session.

Wark explained that his case would most likely not be overturned because Epifania is doing time concurrently on a case separate from his drug conviction.

“The judge may opt not to hear his case at all because he is serving a sentence for something other than that new drug arrest,” Wark said told reporters last week.

Epifania was convicted in August 2008 on charges of arson and killing an animal after prosecutors proved that he stomped a neighborhood cat to death, put its remains in a paper bag, then lit it on fire and threw it through the window of a nearby home.

Epifania was sentenced to two and half years for killing “Nunu,” a domesticated neighborhood cat, and sending its burning remains through the window of 204 Princeton St. on the morning of June 13, 2007. The blaze caused significant damage to the first floor of the building.

His term was to be followed by five years of probation upon his release for beating a man with a frying pan in an unrelated incident to which he pleaded guilty.

However, he was credited with the 15 months he spent behind bars awaiting trial. He was also ordered to undergo drug and alcohol counseling, partake in an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous program, and stay away from all the victims in both cases.

At the time, Spurlock said he would retain jurisdiction over the case and that Epifania would face state prison time if he did not abide by the terms of his probation.

Epifania pled guilty to attempted murder charges stemming from a violent June 11, 2007 attack on an acquaintance during a botched drug sale on Saratoga Street. In that case, Epifania allegedly slashed the victim, punched him in the face, forced him to strip and get in the shower, and threatened him with a hot frying pan.

It was in the aftermath of that attack that Boston Police arrested Epifania on a warrant. While in custody, Epifania indicated that he had gone looking for an acquaintance that lived at the Princeton Street address and had fallen asleep on some steps when he was turned away.

Upon waking up, he saw the cat and first began to pet it. He then “lost it,” he said, and began to kick and stomp on the cat. When he saw that it was dead, he put it in a bag, doused it with lighter fluid, set it on fire, and threw it into the building before running away.

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