Chelsea police took a man into custody after he was caught drinking in public in Bellingham Square. An investigation into his true identity revealed to the police that Wilmer Romero, 38, is a stabbing suspect who has eluded police for 17 years.
Sipping from a bottle of Hennessey Cognac before being arrested, Romero wasn’t too far from the hallway on Chestnut Street where he allegedly stabbed a rival gang member almost two decades ago.
Romero was arraigned Tuesday in Chelsea District Court.
Ironically, his arraignment came exactly 17 years to the day after the 1995 stabbing.
Assistant District Attorney Andrew Miller recommended that he be held on $50,000 cash bail; Judge D. Dunbar Livingston set bail at $10,000.
Romero was charged in two complaints: one having to do with the cold case, the other charging him with the use of phony identification during his arrest.
When Romero was arrested by police in front of Bunker Hill Community College in the square, he gave police officers identification purporting to be Marlon Walters.
That information proved to be false.
After running Romero’s fingerprints police learned that he was the subject of a 1995 Chelsea District Court warrant charging him with armed assault with intent to murder and armed assault with intent to maim for allegedly plunging a knife into a 26-year-old Chelsea man in the hallway of 284 Chestnut St. before fleeing the scene.
Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes was a sergeant when he was one of a number of Chelsea Police officers who responded to Chestnut Street on the report of a stabbing.
That was February 21, 1995.
The victim was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital. He was unable at the time to give a statement, but the officers spoke with a man at the scene who stated that he’d heard the victim say “Coco” stabbed him.
The witness gave a description of the assailant consistent with Romero’s appearance. He also explained that he was a friend of both the victim and “Coco,” whom he said had previously been arrested for stabbing someone else in Chelsea.
That detail was corroborated by Romero’s record, prosecutors say. Romero was convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon at a 1993 bench trial in Chelsea District Court, appealed that conviction, and then defaulted on the proceedings.
Authorities believe Romero fled the area after the 1995 stabbing, picking up an assault case in Virginia six months later.
He has subsequent convictions in that state and Florida up through 2009.