Graffiti suspect appears in court, placed on home confinement
Raymond Stevens (right) leaves Merrimack County Superior Court with a family member after his arraignment on November 26, 2013. Stevens left the courthouse to go to Hopkinton police station where he was charged for having breached his bail and then placed on home confinement (WILL PARSON / Monitor staff)
After surviving a self-inflicted gunshot to the head earlier this month, Raymond Stevens, the 43-year-old tattoo artist accused of defacing refugee family homes in Concord, has returned home to await a possible trial.
Stevens, of Pembroke, was released from medical care yesterday and placed on home confinement by a Merrimack County Superior Court judge. He was ordered to wear an electronic tracking bracelet at all times.
Appearing in court, Stevens’s physical state had clearly deteriorated since the time of his arrest in October. He struggled to walk and leaned forward as he sat beside his attorney, Melinda Siranian, with his hands in front of his chest and mouth slightly agape, feet tapping constantly on the floor.
Stevens was rushed to a hospital Nov. 7 shortly after police officers in Hopkinton found him in a cemetery, wounded from an apparent gunshot. A suicide note was found in his car near the scene, according to a police affidavit. At the time, Stevens had been out on $8,000 cash bail.
Following the shooting, county prosecutor David Rotman asked the court to revoke Stevens’s bail, explaining that he had breached his release conditions by possessing and discharging a firearm.
“Obviously there is some concern on the part of the state, where an individual is charged with a crime and he takes a drastic step of apparently trying to kill himself,” Rotman told Judge Richard McNamara yesterday. “Not only a danger to himself, clearly, but also a danger to others.”
McNamara agreed but said he had conflicting fears about incarcerating Stevens, given his uncertain medical condition.
“There is a legitimate concern about the safety of the defendant and the safety of the public,” McNamara said. “But there is also a concern about someone who has been in Mass. General Hospital for a brain injury being sent to a house of corrections, where I have no idea what level of care he has.”
The state does not have access to Stevens’s medical files; it could potentially obtain them if Siranian questions Stevens’s ability to stand trial. Siranian indicated she has not had enough time with her client since the shooting to assess his condition.
McNamara directed Rotman and Siranian to work out an accord on their own, which they did. The agreement returns Stevens to his previous legal status – out on bail – but requires that he wear the tracking device and comply with other rules outlined by pretrial services. In addition, all of his firearms will be destroyed.
Stevens was also charged yesterday by the Hopkinton police with contempt of bail. His release on that charge is running concurrently with the graffiti charge, said Deputy County Attorney Catherine Ruffle.
Stevens, the owner of a tattoo parlor in Nashua and a vocal white supremacist, was indicted by a grand jury last month on a special felony for criminal mischief. The charge alleges he caused damage in excess of $1,500 to four homes occupied by refugee families in Concord’s South End in 2011 and 2012 – an offense that could bring a prison sentence of up to 30 years because of a state statute prohibiting hate crimes. Stevens was a resident of the South End at the time the crimes were committed.
The messages Stevens allegedly wrote were etched in black marker across the clapboard siding of the homes and declared that the city had been tarnished by the refugees’ arrivals from Rwanda, Somalia and the Congo.
(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, email@example.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)