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New London - Jorge "Loco" Rosa was gunned down in his New London apartment early Saturday in what a judge Monday described as "an execution."
The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Rosa's death a homicide after conducting an autopsy Monday. The 25-year-old died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Also Monday, one of the two men accused of killing Rosa was presented for arraignment in New London Superior Court. Three state troopers and a half dozen judicial marshals were stationed inside the courtroom to prevent further violence.
Evan J. Holmes, 20, has been charged with murder, home invasion and first-degree burglary. The murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 60 years.
Holmes had been released from prison Nov. 3 after serving an 18-month sentence for shooting Idris Elahi in the foot in New London. At the sentencing for that crime, the victim did not deliver an impact statement because he had, in the meantime, been charged with the October 2010 stabbing death of Matthew Chew.
Davion Smith, 18, Holmes' alleged accomplice on Saturday, remains on the run from authorities and is to be considered armed and dangerous, according to police. He faces the same charges as Holmes.
The victim's mother, Bridget Feliciano, and other family members were too upset to attend the arraignment, according to friends, who said that Rosa was sleeping in bed when the two men broke into the house and opened fire.
Police reports of the crime remain sealed as the investigation continues.
Rosa was found dead in his apartment at 252 Montauk Ave. at 4:17 a.m. Saturday. The motive for the killing is unclear, though friends said it had been preceded by an earlier altercation downtown that involved a woman.
Holmes wore a cast on his right index finger when he appeared Monday before Superior Court Judge Kevin P. McMahon. The judge set his bond at $500,000, cash only, at the request of defense attorney Michael Jewell. The attorney asked for the cash bond, which he said his client could not post, so that Holmes could remain in the county to be close to his mother. Jewell said the mother was not well, but did not elaborate. Had the judge set a higher bond, Holmes would have been classified differently and sent to a prison out of the area.
"After reading the (police) reports, I don't feel too beneficial towards you," the judge said to Holmes. "This was an execution."
McMahon ordered the case transferred to the court where major crimes are tried. As Holmes was led back to the courthouse lockup, he looked toward his parents in the gallery and said, "I didn't do it."
Rosa's friends acknowledged he had a criminal past that includes convictions for drug dealing but said he was a good son to his mother and a good father to his daughter.
"He was a good person," said Daniel Douton, a friend. "He didn't deserve this."
Douton said Rosa's 6-year-old daughter "doesn't even know what's going on."
At Holmes’ March 2011 sentencing for the Elahi shooting, his attorney, Bruce A. Sturman, spoke of an alarming increase in deadly violence among young people and urged them to "think twice before they act." Editor's note: The original version of this paragraph omitted the information that this comment was made in March 2011.
In a phone interview Monday afternoon, incoming mayor Daryl J. Finizio said he is staying informed about the case, though he has no active role in how it is handled since he will not be sworn in until Dec. 5.
"I will say that any such violent crimes in our city are tragic and intolerable," Finizio said. "I have full faith and confidence in the chief of police and her department to appropriately address the immediate needs related to the most recent incident."
Finizio has outlined a public safety plan that includes adding six patrolmen to the police force during the next budget cycle, increasing the use of surveillance cameras in public spaces, increasing lighting in specific areas, continuing the current policy of community policing and enhanced coordination with state and federal authorities in response to drug trafficking and gang activity.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting, or the whereabouts of suspect Davion Smith, is asked to call the police department at (860) 447-5269 or the detective unit at (860) 447-1481.