WRENTHAM - Two longtime friends are accused of what authorities say was a gruesome murder at a Walpole concrete business, where a suspected drug dealer was shot, dismembered and "cooked" to destroy evidence of his remains.
Daniel Bradley, 47, and Paul Moccia, 48, who have known each other since high school, were ordered held in jail without bail after pleading innocent in Wrentham District Court to murder.
Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Robert Nelson said the men are accused of killing Angel Antonio Ramirez, a suspected drug dealer who obtained kilos of cocaine from the West Coast, over a $70,000 drug debt Moccia allegedly owed Ramirez.
Moccia decided he was not going to repay Ramirez, a Guatemalan immigrant, and instead hatched a plot to kill him, Nelson said.
Nelson said Moccia met Ramirez on March 20 near the R.J. Bradley Corp. in Walpole that Bradley co-owns. Moccia allegedly shot Ramirez in the back with a .357-caliber pistol and his body was dismembered and disposed of at Bradley's business, Nelson said.
"The best information we have is that the body was cooked," Nelson said during a bail hearing before Judge David Turcotte.
The body was never recovered and Nelson said authorities are still investigating but believe they will probably never recover any remains. Nelson said the murder weapon has also not been recovered.
Nevertheless, Nelson said prosecutors believe they have a strong case which they expect will get stronger when forensic evidence recovered from the concrete factory is tested.
The prosecutor said police recovered blood samples from the business and a pair of boots from Bradley's home which tested positive for blood. Police also seized a safe from Bradley's home.
Prosecuting a murder case without a body is unusual, but there is precedence.
In 2002, Norfolk County District Attorney Williams Keating's office became the first in the state to win a murder conviction without producing a body.
Joseph Romano Jr. of Quincy was convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of his wife in a case where prosecutors produced blood and tissue samples taken from an electric saw taken from their home.
Ramirez, of Framingham, was reported missing by his girlfriend on March 24, Nelson said. In her last conversation with him, the girlfriend told authorities he was going to meet a man named "Paul" about some equipment, possibly construction equipment, Nelson said.
Nelson said police also have cell phone records which contradict accounts the two suspects gave police about their whereabouts.
Nelson said Moccia drove the victim's pickup truck to Framingham after the murder and stopped in Wellesley to meet his brother, an event caught on videotape.
Moccia got his brother to drive him from Framingham to Dedham to get his own vehicle, Nelson said, by telling his brother a cover story about Ramirez leaving a bar with a woman and telling him to take his truck.
Attorneys for the two men said their clients staunchly deny any involvement with Ramirez's suspected demise and questioned whether a crime occurred at all because the victim's body has not been recovered.
Bradley, of Westwood and an assistant football coach at Xaverian Borthers High School in Westwood, was described as the father of a 2-year-old son who is engaged to be married.
John P. Gibbons of Dedham, one of Bradley's defense lawyers, said that Bradley did not know Ramirez. He also said that Bradley and Moccia were questioned repeatedly by investigators in the last several weeks, but Bradley never fled.
"He wants to defend his name and his family's name," Gibbons said. "The evidence will show in the end, there are forensics, that Mr. Bradley had nothing, nothing to do with this. No involvement at all."
Moccia, of Dedham, was described as a devoted father of two sons who is separated from his wife and taking care of his mother who is ailing and in a nursing home. He is a toll taker for the Massachusetts Turnpike and was a former prison guard.
His lawyer, Steven C. Boozang of Dedham, told reporters he has known Moccia for 25 years and is shocked by the accusations of murder or that he was involved in dealing drugs.
"He's just a good man and a great, great father," Boozang said.
Search warrant affidavits authorities obtained for the homes of the defendants, their vehicles and the concrete company, were temporarily impounded by the judge at the request of the prosecution.
The case was continued to July 7.