Charges dismissed against dead defendant in Dracut hate crime incident
Mar 03, 2020 12:47PM
By Lisa Redmond
DRACUT – Two months after Jeremy R. Stephenson’s death,
prosecutors have dismissed all charges against him in connection with a Sept.
27, 2019 assault outside a Dracut convenience store in which Stephenson and his
brother are accused of committing a hate crime.
Jeremy Stephenson, 36, of Plaistow, N.H. died on Dec. 9 at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. An obituary published by the Brookside Funeral Home in Plaistow did not indicate a cause of death.
Due to Jeremy Stephenson’s death, prosecutor Daniel Harren on Feb. 12 dismissed five charges against the defendant: civil rights violation with injury, assault and battery with bodily injury to intimidate, perjury (three counts). A sixth charge of drunken driving was dismissed at his Dec. 2, 2019 arraignment in Middlesex Superior Court arraignment.
Stephenson, along with his brother James Stephenson, 39, of Salem, N.H., was indicted by a Middlesex County was facing charges of allegedly violating the civil rights of a 22-year-old Dracut man during a Sept. 27 incident outside a Dracut convenience store.
Prosecutors state that witnesses reported one of the brothers called the Dracut man, who is African American, a racial slur before he was pushed through a plate glass window at Palace Pizza, next to the 7-Eleven at 1217 Mammoth Road.
The brothers had driven to the 7-Eleven for beer when the Dracut man walked across a parking spot in front of the store, prosecutors allege. Jeremy Stephenson beeped at the 22-year-old and told him to get out of the way, which prompted the Dracut man to respond “boo hoo” and a fight ensued, according to prosecutors.
After being pushed through the window, the Dracut man allegedly stabbed Jeremy Stephenson with a shard of glass, prompting him Jeremy Stephenson to flee, but James Stephenson stayed at the scene, according to prosecutors.
It is alleged that James Stephenson told the victim, “You should go back to Africa,’’ and “if I were in New Hampshire I would have my .45 (gun) take care of you,’’ prosecutors allege.
James Stephenson was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to charges of: civil rights violation with injury, assault and battery to intimidate, and wanton destruction of property. His next court date is March 9.
Jeremy Stephenson, who was released on personal recognizance, was also charged with three counts of perjury for testifying before a grand jury that he did not call the Dracut man a racial slur, did not punch the victim before being stabbed, and that he did not drive to 7-Eleven, according to prosecutors.