Attorney: no comment on judge’s reasons for ‘dangerousness’ ruling
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article appeared online Jan. 14.
Angel De La Cruz, a student in Course 6 and a resident of Senior House, was ordered held without bail Jan. 13 for allegedly possessing firearms in his dorm room. De La Cruz is listed as a senior in the MIT directory, but entered MIT in the class of 2014.
Around 5:45 p.m. on Jan. 6, MIT police searched De La Cruz’s room following a report that he may have had weapons in the dorm. De La Cruz, who is 23 years old and from Texas, was arrested after police allegedly found a pistol, a rifle, and ammunition that he was not licensed to possess.
An MIT counselor made the report to police, The Boston Globe reported.
MIT policy prohibits weapons anywhere on campus. De La Cruz’s attorney, public defender Bruce Ferg, told The Boston Globe that De La Cruz has been suspended from MIT and barred from campus.
At an arraignment held Monday, Jan. 9, De La Cruz pleaded not guilty. He was charged with two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon on school grounds, two counts of possession of a large capacity firearm, two counts of possession of a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition without a license, and improper storage of a firearm.
Under Massachusetts statute 58A, if a person is charged with certain crimes — including possession of high capacity weapons — a judge can move to hold him without bail. In that case, a “dangerousness hearing” is held.
According to that statute, to rule a person “dangerous” and keep him detained prior to his trial, a judge must find “clear and convincing evidence” that “no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety” of the community if he were released. A person who is ruled dangerous may be held for up to 120 days.
De La Cruz was ruled “dangerous” on Jan. 13 by Judge Dominic Paratore. Ferg would not comment on which facts of the case led the judge to reach this conclusion, but said that a judge has “wide discretion” regarding what they consider.
“Prior record, prior jail time, and threatening conduct” could all be taken into account, Ferg said.
De La Cruz had no prior arrest record. A press release from the Middlesex County district attorney’s office prior to the hearing said there was no evidence that any threats were made toward members of the MIT community, and that De La Cruz was not violent when confronted by MIT police.
Jay Scheib, head of Senior House, and Sarah Melvin ’18, president of Senior House, did not respond to requests for comment.
De La Cruz will return to court on Feb. 13 for a hearing, where the prosecuting lawyer will be Assistant District Attorney Raquel Frisardi.