Murder Is The First In Mashpee In Seven Years
By: Michael C. Bailey
Over the past several weeks, the Mashpee Police Department has seen a significant lull in activity that had officers wondering if this was some sort of calm before a storm.
That storm struck late last week when, within a 48-hour period, police were called to two shootings, one of which this week officially became the town’s first murder investigation in seven years.
“Guns, and violence, along with drugs, seem to be a common denominator,” Rodney C. Collins, chief of the Mashpee Police Department said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference at Mashpee Town Hall.
The first shooting occurred just before 10 PM on Thursday, April 7, at 165 Ninigret Avenue, the home of 20-year-old Carlton H. Hendricks III. Chief Collins said police received at 9:52 PM reports of a single gunshot coming from the home, and upon arrival questioned an unidentified occupant but found no evidence of a crime.
Some time later, two Massachusetts State Police troopers contacted the MPD to report that a 32-year-old male had been dropped off at Falmouth Hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound. The victim was later transported to an unspecified Boston hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The ensuing investigation led to the issuance of two arrest warrants, one for Mr. Hendricks and one for 35-year-old John B. Cardoza of East Falmouth. Both warrants were issued on two counts of armed robbery, one count of assault with intent to murder while armed with a firearm, and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Both Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Cardoza have been arrested before on drug charges.
Police returned to the home on Friday, April 8, to serve the warrant to Mr. Hendricks, who was not at the residence at the time. The suspect turned himself in to police Monday afternoon. He was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail due to his criminal history and the severity of the charges.
Mr. Hendricks was taken to Falmouth District Court on Tuesday, where he was arraigned and denied bail. He is scheduled to return on April 21 for a dangerousness hearing, as well as a probation violation hearing.
As of press time yesterday, Mr. Cardoza had yet to be located.
According to court documents, the incident appeared to have been a “rip,” a term that refers to a drug transaction that turns into a robbery. The victim and his girlfriend had allegedly gone to Mr. Hendricks’s home to purchase Percocet, a prescription painkiller. The couple, along with their 7-month-old child, allegedly drove up to the house to make the transaction from the car, and at some point Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Cardoza allegedly pulled guns on the victims.
Court documents indicated that witnesses heard someone shouting “I want my money!” just before they heard the gunshot.
The suspects allegedly took $750 in cash from the victims during the incident before the male was shot. At present it is unclear which of the suspects fired the weapon, police said.
Chief Collins said the victims in the incident were “absolutely” known to Mashpee police.
The chief said the investigation is ongoing and is receiving support and assistance from the state police, the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department, and the Falmouth Police Department.
The Juniper Drive Shooting
Almost 48 hours to the minute after the Ninigret Avenue incident, police were dispatched to 4 Juniper Drive after receiving reports of multiple gunshots. Upon arrival, officers found a 20-year-old male, later identified by the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office as Robert J. Martin, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Multiple shots had apparently been fired through a basement window at the victim.
An immediate search of the area, assisted by a county K-9 unit and a state police detectives unit, turned up nothing, the chief said.
Chief Collins was more tight-lipped when it came to divulging any details of the Juniper Drive incident, stating only,
“This matter remains under intense investigation” by Mashpee, Barnstable, and state police, and that the individuals involved were unfamiliar to Mashpee police.
The chief said the MPD received on Wednesday afternoon a report of suspicious activity that warranted a search in an unspecified wooded area, but that search “did not pan out into anything.”
Chief Collins did not comment as to whether the police had a suspect in the second shooting.
Mr. Martin was taken to Cape Cod Hospital for immediate treatment, then transported to an unspecified Boston hospital, where he died on Wednesday at 12:41 PM. At that point jurisdiction over the investigation shifted to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office and the state police detectives unit, Chief Collins said.
No information was available about Mr. Martin’s background, how long he lived at the Juniper Drive home, or whether he was related to the other residents or is from Mashpee. No Robert Martin is listed in the 2008 or 2009 Mashpee High School yearbooks.
First Assistant District Attorney Brian S. Glenny yesterday afternooon said the case is still under investigation, declining to provide information about whether the two shootings are connected.
Chief Collins did not believe there was a direct connection between either incident and “Operation: Buzzards Prey,” a multi-jurisdictional sting operation that on March 31 netted more than two dozen suspected believed by police to be involved in cocaine and heroin use and distribution in Falmouth, Mashpee, Bourne, Barnstable, and Yarmouth.
However, he did draw connections between drug issues throughout town and an increase over the past few years in various theft-type crimes. “From car breaks to breaking and entering to shoplifting, that common denominator seems to be plaguing us,” the chief said. “It all seems to trickle back one way or the other to the underlying problem involving substance abuse…and it’s not just affecting us, I think it’s affecting numerous towns across Cape Cod.”
He further did not expect a decrease in such crimes despite last month’s operation.
“Did we disrupt the flow? Yes we did,” Chief Collins said, “Am I so naïve as to think that we terminated the flow? Absolutely not.”
The town’s last homicide was in 2004 when Louis H. Mathews of East Falmouth beat 43-year-old Scott D. Turner of Mashpee to death with a tree branch. The murder occurred at 181 Ninigret Avenue, just a few houses down from last week’s shooting.
The site of the Thursday shooting, 165 Ninigret Avenue, is well-known to local police. In August 2009, a heavily-armed team comprising Cape Cod Drug Task Force and the Upper Cape Cod Regional Special Response Team members stormed the home and executed a search warrant, looking for illegal drugs they believed to be on the premises.
However, the raid yielded negligible results as none of the four suspects pulled from the home during the 90-minute operation—one of whom was Mr. Hendricks—were arrested. Police believe that any drugs in the home were flushed down the toilet just as the officers entered.
According to town assessing records, the home, which is across the street from Johns Pond, is owned by Crystal L. Perry, who purchased it in 2008 for $100.
According to archives of the Enterprise, Ms. Perry was arrested in December 2009 on several drug-related charges, including three counts of possession to distribute a Class B drug, subsequent offense. The charges against Ms. Perry, who whose listed address was on Central Avenue in East Falmouth at the time, were dismissed upon payment of a $300 court cost.
Mr. Hendricks is the son of Carlton H. Hendricks Jr., an elected member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council, sources said this week.
The Juniper Drive area, which is off Route 130 a quarter mile from Mashpee Town Hall, has less of a history, with police logs from the past several years showing fewer than a half-dozen motor vehicle break-ins but no other criminal activity.
Anyone with information about either the Ninigret Avenue or Juniper Drive incidents is asked to contact the Mashpee Police Department’s detectives’ bureau at 508-539-1484.
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