Dartmouth murder suspect held without bail; defense disputes evidence

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A New Bedford man suspected of shooting and killing another man last week was ordered held without bail during his arraignment on Monday.

Franklin Antonio Amaya Paredes, 23, was arrested over the weekend and charged with the murder of Jose Cortez Cornejo, 27, also of New Bedford.

Cornejo’s body was spotted by a passing motorist on the side of Horseneck Road on the morning of July 14. Two days later, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said the autopsy revealed he died of apparent gunshot wounds.

Prosecutors say Amaya Paredes was one of the last people to be seen with the victim and claim cell phone tracking places him and the victim together at the crime scene.

“The cell phone puts the path of the vehicle from New Bedford then to Dartmouth,” Assistant District Attorney Natasha Azevedo said Monday. “They are both seen entering that vehicle, and then the vehicle ends up in Dartmouth at the time of the shooting.”

Amaya Paredes’ defense attorney, Dana Sargent, argued that prosecutors have no physical evidence or probable cause.

“There’s no evidence of who was at the scene, who may have entered the car, left the car,” he said. “Only that another individual, not [my client], had a cell phone that made the trip.”

Sargent also said no witnesses put his client at the crime scene, adding that being seen with the victim is not a crime.

“It doesn’t appear they have anything that puts him on a true crime scene in Dartmouth, or there’s any forensic or any evidence whatsoever that links him to a crime,” Sargent said.

“If they had any evidence to show he had a firearm, or any other evidence, they would have shown it,” he added. “They didn’t.”

Amaya Paredes is due back in court Aug. 25.

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