This is a horrible story about a crime which, if true, is almost beyond comprehension.
One Eldrick D. Broom, 27, pleaded guilty this past week in Suffolk Superior Court to charges of the November 21 2011 aggravated rape and first-degree murder of Ms. Rosana Camilo, a mother of three who came to Boston so that her young son could receive medical care here. According to prosecutors, Camilo’s 16-year-old daughter found her mother’s lifeless and partially nude body in a rear bedroom of the apartment that Ms. Camilo lived in on Fairlawn Avenue, Boston. Broom was apprehended after an investigation produced DNA evidence linking him to the rape and murder, and he was ordered held without bail. But according to police investigators, that’s not how Broom was dealt with by the courts previously.
Broom was reportedly arrested in August on charges of assault and battery, after he was accused of beating up his pregnant girlfriend, who also lived in an apartment near where Camilo lived, according to police. He pleaded not guilty to that charge, and was free on personal recognizance when Ms. Camilo was murdered. Approximately a week after Ms. Camilo’s murder, Broom was also arrested in Brookline, this time on charges of open and gross lewdness and disorderly behavior after he allegedly urinated in public, according to court records. He was also released following that charge.
Now, this woman has been horrifically raped and murdered, the public is outraged, and understandably so. I can say this even as a Boston, Massachusetts sex crimes defense lawyer. The facts of this case are simply awful. Beyond Ms. Camilo being attacked, raped, and strangled with such force that her larynx was crushed, her17-month-old child was in his crib near his mother when she was raped and murdered. DNA evidence obtained from underneath Camilo’s fingernails link Broom to the crime, according to prosecutors. His attorney entered a plea of not guilty.
It’s this type of case that enrages the public, and fuels calls for stricter criminal sentencing laws This is seen currently with the Massachusetts Legislature’s current debate surrounding the so-called “Three Strikes Bill,” which would bar anyone convicted of three violent felonies from ever being eligible for parole. Though, in the interests of balance, it’s not presently clear to me that such a law would have prevented this defendant from being released on personal recognizance for the assault and battery offense he was charged with in August, as he was not yet convicted of that offense at the time he was released pending trial.
Regardless, the public is understandably angry and upset at the facts behind this case. As a Westwood, Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, it can be very hard to explain to people, why the presumption of innocence is so important, and how and why many defendants accused of crimes such as assault and battery are released on personal recognizance. A judge’s decision always involves consideration of a number of factors, including the offense before the court, prior offenses, and the evidence presented. Mistakes are always going to happen – and when mistakes like this happen, it’s beyond description.
My heart goes out to Ms. Camilo’s surviving daughter and husband Richard Nunez, who has told reporters that said Rosana’s world was “Our family and the baby.”
Because I’m a criminal defense attorney, doesn’t mean I don’t understand the public outcry over sentencing laws that are often perceived as too lenient. It is my hope that stronger measures can be enacted to better protect the public from violent offenders, without trampling the constitutional protections we all value – for ourselves, no less.