A man The Massachusetts Bail Fund helped free from jail is now charged with a much more serious crime: murder. This is the same man who is charged with attacking a corrections officer on Methadone Mile in 2019.
Boston Police say 53-year-old Sean Stuart stabbed 29-year-old Ugochukwu Anaele to death at 112 Atkinson Street in Roxbury around 6:15 a.m. on August 23.
When police arrived, they reported seeing Anaele with what appeared to be a stab wound to the left side of his upper chest area. One of the officers on scene applied direct pressure to the wound until Boston EMS arrived. Due to the serious nature of Anaele’s injuries, full notifications were initiated, bringing homicide detectives and crime scene investigators to the scene. Boston EMS rushed Anaele to Boston Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators collected and reviewed surveillance video which they say clearly shows the stabbing. They say Anaele was engaged in an altercation with Stuart shortly after 6 a.m. During the altercation, Anaele appears unarmed while Stuart appears to have two knives. The investigators say the footage shows Stuart stab Anaele in the chest. Anaele immediately began to bleed heavily from the front left side of his chest. Stuart left the area.
Witnesses were taken to Boston Police Headquarters for questioning. Police say several persons who viewed various still photos and clips that were taken from the surveillance video independently identified Stuart as the suspect.
On August 24, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and determined Anaele’s cause of death to be a stab wound to the chest and the manner of his death as a homicide.
In a news release identifying Anaele, Boston Police said he was from Houston, Texas. However, the police report lists his address as the Southampton Street Shelter. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office in Texas notified his next of kin. Police say the relationship between Stuart and Anaele is unknown, but their investigation is ongoing.
Roxbury District Court granted a warrant for Stuart’s arrest on August 31. Police arrested Stuart around 6 p.m. on September 3 in the area of Topeka and Southampton streets. Stuart is charged with first degree murder. He remained behind a door and out of sight during his arraignment September 7 in Roxbury District Court. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. The judge ordered him held without bail.
Stuart is awaiting trial in connection with the brutal attack of a Suffolk County corrections officer on August 1, 2019. A June 2020 trial had been proposed, but the date has been pushed back multiple times due to COVID-19.
The corrections officer was assaulted on Atkinson Street, the same street where Stuart is accused of killing Anaele. The officer told police he was on his way to work when an unknown man yelled out to him. The officer said when he rolled down his window, the man smacked him in the face. A fight ensued when the officer stepped out of his car to confront the man.
Five people joined in the fight and assaulted the officer. One of the attackers stole the officer’s watch, glasses and phone. Two Boston Public Health Commission officers who were working nearby witnessed the attack and pulled the injured officer into a nearby shelter where they called 911. One of the BPHC officers reporting seeing the officer get struck in the face with a “metal pipe.” The officer was taken to Boston Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
Police arrested Stuart the next day. He was arraigned in Roxbury District Court before a grand jury indicted him October 22, 2019 and the case was moved to Suffolk Superior Court.
Stuart was arraigned on November 4, 2019 in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. A plea of not guilty was entered on all charges. The judge set his bail at $500 cash or $5,000 surety. The court noted Stuart had two warrants out of state, including a charge of bail jumping. Bail jumping is when a defendant fails to show up in court (thereby forfeiting bond) and doesn’t surrender within a set time period.
Live Boston 617 reviewed the case file at Suffolk Superior Court and found a Michael Williams of Boston posted $500 cash bail for Stuart on November 29, 2019. Stuart was released on December 3, 2019.
On January 13, 2020, the Commonwealth filed a motion to revoke Stuart’s bail, noting he had been arrested in Boston on a new charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The Commonwealth noted Stuart has a history of offenses involving the use of threat of physical violence against others. A judge granted the motion and revoked Stuart’s bail, ordering him held for sixty days.
Stuart’s court-appointed attorney on January 31, 2020 filed a motion to withdraw as the defendant’s legal counsel. “Since about 1/22/2020, communications between Defendant and Counsel have degenerated to the point where these communications were so marked by hostility and distrust that it is extremely difficult for Counsel to provide effective representation to the Defendant,” John H. Miller, Jr. wrote to the court. “On 1/22/2020, Defendant terminated conversation on the phone with Counsel due to disagreement with Counsel about the posture of the Commonwealth’s case against Defendant.” The court granted Miller’s motion on March 4, 2020 and appointed Stuart a new attorney. Another new attorney was appointed to Stuart’s case on July 27, 2020.
When Stuart’s sixty day bail revocation order expired on March 13, 2020, a judge set a new bail of $700 cash or $7,000 surety. The Massachusetts Bail Fund paid the $700 on April 9, 2020 to release Stuart.
The Massachusetts Bail Fund, a Cambridge-based organization whose motto is “Free Them All,” has provided bail for hundreds of defendants who can’t afford to pay. They’re notorious for freeing people who have committed serious crimes, only to reoffend. The group has helped release sexual predators and known violent felons.
In March, the fund was among a group of non-profit organizations that paid $100,000 bail to release Marie Merisier, the mother charged with attempted murder after prosecutors say she left her hours-old newborn in a double-knotted bag in a trash barrel outside a Dorchester Avenue pizzeria.
Last summer, the fund posted $15,000 bail to release a Level 3 sex offender. Shawn McClinton had two previous convictions and a pending rape charge. Less than a month after being freed from jail, he was accused of raping and trying to strangle a woman.
The fund fired back at the criticism, saying it bails out people based on financial need “regardless of charge or court history.” It added it does this work “because pretrial detention is harmful and racist.”
Live Boston 617 has made multiple attempts to contact the fund for comment on Stuart’s release, but our requests for comment have gone unanswered.
On August 10, 2020 a judge again ordered Stuart held without bail. On October 6, 2020 a judge set a bail for Stuart of $1,200 cash or $12,000 surety. He was released from custody using the $1,200 bail previously posted by Michael Williams and The Massachusetts Bail Fund. Two days later, a warrant was issued for Stuart’s arrest. A judge ordered him held without bail on October 14, 2020.
On January 19 of this year, a judge discharged Stuart on personal recognizance an ordered the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department to transport him to the Wyman Recovery Treatment Program in Mattapan. On April 30, a judge ordered him held without bail. A warrant was issued for his arrest on June 8.
Stuart has an extensive criminal history and has been arrested numerous times. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office was assisting Live Boston gather documentation on Stuart’s cases with regard to bail and what the office had requested. Spokesperson Matthew Brelis even applauded us for our “pursuit of the facts.” On October 1, Brelis, told us he would “have something for [us] next week.” The office has not responded to repeated inquiries since then, including a request for comment on Monday for this story.
The Boston Police Department continues to actively review the facts and circumstances surrounding Anaele’s murder and is asking anyone with information relative to this investigation to contact Boston Police Homicide Detectives at (617) 343-4470.
Community members wishing to assist this investigation anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1 (800) 494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463). The Boston Police Department will stringently guard and protect the identities of all those who wish to assist this investigation anonymously.
To those who find themselves in need of emotional support or simply needing to talk to someone about distressing events in our community, the Boston Neighborhood Trauma Team (NTT) provides free, private support 24/7 at (617) 431-0125 or by visiting BPHC.org/trauma.