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Dracut Man Convicted Of First-Degree Murder

Dec 16, 2016 01:13PM ● By Bill Gilman

Tarrane Tillis was found guilty of first-degree murder

(Editor's Note: The following information was released by the Office of District Attorney Marian Ryan.)

WOBURN –Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced that Wednesday, December 14, Derren Molina and Tarrane Tillis were both convicted of first-degree murder by Middlesex Superior Court juries in separate trials. The two convictions are the result of comprehensive investigations conducted by the District Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Massachusetts State Police and the Everett and Lowell Police Departments. 

“These cases demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that communities affected by violent crime have allies in law enforcement,” said District Attorney Ryan. “The successful prosecution of these cases was a result of investigations conducted over several years in collaboration with local law enforcement partners. Ultimately, as a result, two dangerous criminals will be held accountable for their actions.” 

Tarrane Tillis, 38, of Dracut, was convicted in connection with the 2013 death of 44-year-old Cristiano Diaz-Arias of Lowell. Tillis was also convicted of armed home invasion and armed assault with intent to rob. 

On December 18, 2013, at approximately 8:11 p.m., Lowell Police responded to a report of a shooting on 2nd Street in Lowell. Upon arrival authorities found the victim, Cristiano Diaz-Arias who had sustained two gunshot wounds; one to the head and one to the torso. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Through their investigation, authorities learned that Tillis, and his four codefendants had planned to commit an armed robbery of the victim in Lowell. Tillis was allegedly joined by three other men; Roberto Lopez-Ortiz, 34, of Nashua, New Hampshire, Donte Okowuga, 37, of Nashua, New Hampshire, and Jonathan Rivera, 26, of Nashua, New Hampshire,  and proceeded to enter the victim’s apartment where a physical altercation took place. The defendants then fled the house as the victim pursued them. The victim was then shot twice. A fifth defendant, Kent Grays, 45, of Lowell, allegedly assisted by serving as a lookout during the attempted robbery. 

The four remaining defendants in this case are awaiting trial. Robert Lopez-Ortiz is charged with murder, armed home invasion and armed assault to rob. Donte Okowuga is charged with murder, armed home invasion and armed assault to rob. Jonathan Rivera is charged with home invasion and armed assault to rob. Kent Grays is charged with assault with intent to rob. These charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  

Lowell Police Superintendent William Taylor added, “I want to commend the work done on this case from the first responding officers, to all the investigators and prosecutors who worked diligently to bring about a successful conclusion. I hope now that this defendant has been held accountable for his actions, it bring some closure and solace to the victim’s family along with the residents of the Centralville neighborhood who were greatly impacted by this crime.”

The prosecutors assigned to this case were Assistant District Attorney John McEvoy and Assistant District Attorney Marisa Tagliareni. The Victim Witness Advocate was Kristen Chamberlain. 

Judge Bruce Henry set sentencing for Tarrane Tillis for Friday, December 23 at 9:00 a.m.

Derren Molina, 24, of Chelsea, was convicted in connection with the 2013 murder of 29-year-old Louis Barbosa of Everett. 

At approximately 1:19 a.m. on March 16, 2013, police received a 911 call and responded to Chelsea Street in Everett.  Upon their arrival, police discovered a male victim suffering from multiple stab wounds. The victim was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

During the investigation of the fatal stabbing authorities learned that the victim had arrived with three friends to a party at a residence on Chelsea Street that was winding down. While outside the defendant who was an admitted member of the Bloods gang asked the victim, “Why are you wearing blue?” believing that the victim was a member of the Crips gang. The defendant then stabbed the victim in the neck and ran into the house. Shortly thereafter, the defendant exited the house and proceeded to stab the victim as he lay paralyzed on the ground several more times before leaving the scene. 

Everett Chief of Police Steven Mazzie stated, “We are glad that we were able to bring some justice for Louis Barbosa and his family and that Mr. Molina was held accountable for this senseless violence.”

The prosecutors assigned to this case were Assistant District Attorney Kate Kleimola and Assistant District Attorney Jessica Langsam. The Victim Witness Advocate was Andrew Lauranzano.

Judge Thomas Billings scheduled sentencing for Derren Molina for Monday, December 19 at 9:00 a.m.

Al Fresca


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