Bedford home attacks called random
BEDFORD - A Massachusetts man accused of attempted murder and maiming a local anesthesiologist and his wife during an apparent random home invasion on Nov. 24 is in custody in Massachusetts for allegedly attacking a Methuen woman when he broke into her home three weeks later.
New Hampshire authorities said Friday they obtained an arrest warrant charging Charles Normil, 32, of Lawrence, Mass., with breaking into the 7 Proclamation Court home of Dr. Eduardo W. Quesada and his wife, Sonia, and brutally attacking the couple when they returned home about 10 p.m. after a night out.
A second suspect - whom authorities would not identify - is being detained on federal charges out of U.S. District Court in New Hampshire. Officials would not comment on his alleged role in the case or discuss charges pending against him.
Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia M. LaFrance said financial gain appears to be the motive for the burglary. Authorities said they uncovered no evidence to date that links the Quesadas with Normil or the second suspect.
Normil allegedly stabbed Dr. Quesada, 52, multiple times in the head with a screwdriver, causing facial fractures, lacerations and bleeding in the brain. Normil also sexually and physically assaulted Sonia Quesada repeatedly, which caused her to lose sight in her left eye. The couple's 2-year-old daughter was unharmed.
LaFrance said Normil is charged with two counts each of attempted murder and first-degree assault and one count each of aggravated felonious sexual assault, falsifying physical evidence and burglary in the Bedford home invasion.
Police in Methuen, Mass., arrested Normil in mid-January and charged him with home invasion, mayhem, carrying a firearm without a license and larceny over $250 in connection with a Dec. 14 break-in, Methuen Police Detective Lt. Jim Jajuga Jr. said.
Normil is accused of breaking into a 19 Grove St. apartment and striking the female occupant multiple times with a handgun, causing serious facial injuries, Jajuga said. Normil stole several items and left, he said.
Below is surveillance video from the Methuen Police allegedly showing Normil breaking into that Methuen apartment building:
Police don't know why Normil targeted the apartment, but they don't believe it was random.
Methuen police obtained video surveillance from the apartment complex showing a man pulling a black ski mask over his face after entering the building, Jajuga said. After posting the video on YouTube, police received several tips that led them to Normil, who was then living at 328 High St. in Lawrence, Mass., Jajuga said.
The Quesadas described their attacker as a man at least 6-feet tall wearing a black ski mask and dark clothes.
Methuen police were unaware of Normil's alleged involvement in the Bedford home invasion when the arrested him in mid-January. Jajuga would not specify when Bedford police contacted them about Normil.
Normil is being held on the charges at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Middleton, Mass. on $250,000 cash bail.
Hillsborough County Attorney LaFrance said her office will file a detainer against Normil to bring him back to New Hampshire to face charges here. Should he refuse to waive extradition, authorities will apply for a governor's warrant. LaFrance provided no timeline on when she expected these events to occur.
LaFrance and Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski said the case was complex, required special investigative techniques and the cooperation of multiple agencies. The severity of the Quesadas' injuries complicated matters further because it delayed investigators' ability to thoroughly question them.
The Bedford case took a another tragic twist six weeks after the home invasion when police were called to 49 Kensington Lane in Bedford where they found Sonia Quesada dead, her husband unconscious and a pile of prescription drugs nearby. The couple had been staying at the condominium owned by Dr. Quesada's mother. Authorities say the two incidents are unrelated.
Preliminary autopsy results show Sonia Quesada's death was not a homicide. Officials have yet to release the cause and manner of her death.
Bedford Town Council Chairman Chris Bandazian said the charges against Normil should bring relief to residents, who have been on edge since the attack 4 1/2 months ago.
"We are a very safe community, but we are not immune to this kind of random attack. It's horrible," he said.
"The citizens of Bedford can be very proud of their detectives...and the police officers and the coordinated efforts of multiple agencies," Bandazian added.
LaFrance said authorities had to keep close guard on the facts of the case to not jeopardize the investigation.
Three years prior to the Bedford home invasion, Normil and accomplice Nathan Lamontagne, 23, then both of Worcester, Mass., used a GPS to navigate from Massachusetts to the Seacoast where they carried out a series of burglaries along Sea Road in Rye on the nights of Dec. 5 and 6, 2009.
Rye police executed a search warrant on the GPS that the pair used to plot their trail of break-ins. Police were able to download the driving route and watch it on Google Earth as it proceeded and stopped at the burglarized homes.
The men pleaded guilty in 2010 to burglary and burglary conspiracy for breaking into three houses and attempting to break into a fourth when they were arrested. A couple was sleeping inside one of the houses when the two broke in.
Normil was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 6 years in state prison in November 2010. Lamontagne received the same sentence on Oct. 21, 2010.