Suspect in Marcotte slaying allegedly posed as stranded motorist

Boston Globe ( Evan Allen )

LEOMINSTER — The man suspected of murdering Vanessa Marcotte apparently posed as a motorist with a disabled SUV around the time Marcotte went for a walk near her mother’s home in August, a prosecutor said Tuesday.


The new details about the attack on Marcotte, a 27-year-old Google employee who was in the town of Princeton to visit relatives, emerged when Angelo Colon-Ortiz was arraigned in Leominster District Court on charges of assault with intent to rape and aggravated assault and battery.

Relatives of the slain woman were in the courthouse, but they left without speaking to reporters after the arraignment, where Colon-Ortiz was ordered held on $10 million cash bail.

Worcester Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Travers provided a timeline of events on Aug. 7, 2016, that included Marcotte’s movements and Colon-Ortiz’s alleged actions.

Marcotte left her mother’s home on Brooks Station Road in Princeton for a walk around 1:15 p.m. Her iPhone was disabled or shut off at 2:11 p.m. Relatives contacted Princeton police when Marcotte did not return home later that afternoon, Travers said.

Her body was found in woods about a half-mile from her mother’s home around 8:30 p.m. by State and Princeton police searching with the help of dogs, he said. “The victim suffered a fractured nose during the attack and crushing injuries to the structures surrounding her throat,’’ State Police wrote in a report filed in court.

Meanwhile, a man who authorities allege was Colon-Ortiz was spotted by an area resident standing next to a black SUV stopped “near to where the site where Vanessa’s body was later recovered” around 12:45 p.m. that Sunday, Traver said.

The hood of the SUV - it may have been a Ford Explorer - was up and the man was on the phone so the area resident did not stop to help the apparently stranded motorist, Travers said.

The prosecutor said that when the resident passed the same location around 2:05 p.m., the hood on the vehicle was down, all the windows were closed and the man he had seen earlier was no longer standing by the SUV, Traver said.

He said the man thought nothing about it until authorities made a public appeal for anyone who had been in the neighborhood on the day of Marcotte’s murder to contact them.

Colon-Ortiz, 31, worked for FedEx between 4 a.m. and 11 a.m. on a route that would often take him through Princeton and he would work weekends. He was not working for FedEx at the time of Marcotte’s murder, the prosecutor said.

Colon-Ortiz’s cellphone shows that he was in the Princeton area around the time Marcotte was attacked, Travers said.

Colon-Ortiz was allegedly connected to the crime when a state trooper spotted a Hispanic man driving a black SUV in Worcester. The trooper stopped by the Worcester residence, but only Colon-Ortiz’s wife was there, Travis said.

State Police returned later and in the presence of Colon-Ortiz’s wife, asked him to provide a DNA sample. He agreed, Travers said. Colon-Ortiz was arrested Friday after his DNA was allegedly matched to DNA recovered from Marcotte, official said.

Prosecutors said they have asked the Department of Homeland Security to check into Colon-Ortiz’s background to determine the “actual identity of this defendant’’ who had a Puerto Rico driver’s license issued to him in 2014.

Defense attorney Edward P. Ryan Jr. said Colon-Ortiz was born in Puerto Rico, and his parents still live there. Colon-Ortiz moved to the Worcester area “a short while ago. ... There is no question he is a US citizen,” Ryan said.

He said Colon-Ortiz and his wife have two children of their own; his wife has a child from an earlier relationship. He said his client is “shaken” by the allegations made by prosecutors against him but determined to prove his innocence.

Ryan said that his client speaks English but not proficiently. Ryan said he will investigate what transpired when his client allowed State Police to collect the DNA sample that authorities allege connects him to Marcotte’s murder.

Ryan, a prominent, veteran criminal defense attorney, chided Early, who had declared, “We got him,” when he announced Colon-Ortiz’s arrest at a press conference Saturday in Princeton.

“This case raises a number of significant legal issues’’ Ryan told reporters before the arraignment. “Declarations of guilt at a press conference don’t make someone guilty.”

Ryan also said he had hired an legal expert on the use of DNA in criminal cases.

Ki Monique
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Ki is an actress, tv personality, and reporter. She has many hobbies and talents. Her father is a retired military veteran.