By John R. Ellement
Globe Staff / August 26, 2008
The body of a man who apparently had been stabbed to death was found yesterday morning draped across a bench in a park known as the heart of the Pope's Hill area of Dorchester.
The victim is believed to be a homeless man who residents said had recently begun sleeping in Adams/King Park at the intersection of the two streets. He was described as a black man, possibly in his 30s. Boston police homicide detectives were trying to determine his identity, as they searched for his killer.
"God bless him," said Diane Greenidge, an area resident who came upon the crime scene at the park, marked off with yellow police tape and surrounded by Boston police cruisers and the white pickup truck from the state medical examiner's office. "I will pray for him."
The slaying shocked residents of the neighborhood, where the violent crime that has plagued other parts of Dorchester is notably rare.
"This is the exception, not the rule," said Craig Galvin, 38, a lifelong resident and real estate agent.
"This neighborhood has fought for years and years to get the funds and things that it needs to make it a big part of this community," Galvin said of the park. "Everybody in this community uses it."
The victim was found by a dog walker about 8:05 a.m. on the bench closest to a children's jungle gym. He appeared to have been stabbed multiple times, police said.
Michael Owens, who lives on Rosemont Street, said he was in the park Sunday with a toddler who played on a jungle gym.
"It was perfect," he said of the park at the time he was there. "I just think this has to be one of those unfortunate events that happened to have happened here."
Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll echoed the view that the neighborhood is usually quiet. Police asked anyone with information about the slaying to contact them.
Boston City Council president Maureen Feeney, who was instrumental in getting the park built, was told by neighbors yesterday that a dog walker saw the man on the bench around 6:30 a.m., and that the resident thought the man was sleeping.
She said other residents had seen the man in the area for the last four or five days. He had appeared carefully dressed in spotless white sneakers and jacket.
"This is really unsettling," Feeney said. ". . . This is just a great neighborhood with great neighbors who watch out for each other."