Cab Attack

An East Boston couple was arraigned yesterday on charges they beat and robbed a cab driver that refused to break traffic laws in order to get them to their destination, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

Kristy Morgan, 28, and Robert Chamness, 32, both of East Boston, were arraigned in Boston Municipal Court yesterday on charges of unarmed robbery, malicious destruction of property over $250, and assault and battery. Morgan was additionally charged with resisting arrest and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Assistant District Attorney Jessica Erickson requested $2,500 bail for each defendant; Judge Michael Coyne declined to impose monetary bail and released Morgan and Chamness on their own recognizance.

According to prosecutors, a Tunnel Taxi cab driver walked into the District 7 Boston Police station on Friday to report that a man and a woman entered his taxi at the Maverick MBTA station shortly after 10:50 a.m. and paid $30 to be driven to Boston Medical Center. The woman allegedly instructed the driver to hurry up in order to get her to the medical center by 11:00 a.m., prosecutors said. When the driver refused to break the speed limit in order to comply, the woman allegedly reached from behind the driver’s seat to scratch the cabbie’s face, leaving red marks on the right side of the victim’s face near his eye. The male passenger then began punching the victim in the neck and at the base of his skull, prosecutors said. The victim’s glasses were broken during the assault.

Prosecutors said that both assailants demanded their fare back. In fear for his safety, the victim pulled a stack of cash totaling approximately $45 from his pocket, but before he could separate the $30 demanded by the two passengers, the woman grabbed the wad of bills and both assailants then fled the cab.

The next morning, Boston Police officers observed a man and woman – later identified as Chamness and Morgan – in the area of Meridian and Liverpool streets and noted that the woman matched the description provided by the victim. The victim then met officers in the area and positively identified both the man and woman as the individuals who beat and robbed him the day before, prosecutors said.

As police placed both Chamness and Morgan under arrest, Morgan kicked and elbowed officers, causing both Morgan and the officers to fall to the ground, prosecutors said.

Morgan is represented by attorney William Roa and Chamness by attorney Mehmet Baysan. Both will return to court Oct. 16.

In other news an East Boston man was arraigned Tuesday on charges he set a fire in an alley off of Falcon Street that caused thousands of dollars in damage to a nearby home, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

John F. Cherry was arraigned in East Boston Municipal Court on a charge of arson of a dwelling. Assistant District Attorney Kaushal Rana requested bail of $5,000. Judge John McDonald imposed $1,000 bail.

According to prosecutors, Boston Police and Boston Fire responded to a report of a fire at 26 Falcon Street at approximately 3:40 p.m. yesterday. Upon their arrival, police observed firefighters extinguished a fire in an alleyway. The fire appeared to have started in an open trash bag that was placed near a broken basement window and spread to the building’s exterior, prosecutors said.

Though quickly knocked down, the blaze caused an estimated $5,000 in damage to the multi-family home, prosecutors said.

As part of their investigation, Boston Police and Boston Fire investigators gathered surveillance video from the area. Among the imagery they collected was footage showing Cherry walking down the alley and then walking back a few minutes later. Moments after he emerged, the fire began, prosecutors said.

Cherry was represented for bail purposes by attorney Jane Ross. He will return to court August 8.

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