James Howze muttered angrily as he was led in to Westborough District Court on Thursday morning to face charges in a murder that led police to a bloody crime scene at Motel 6 in Northborough last month.
Lara Cori, 22, and James Howze, 22, both of 37 Harvard Ave., Providence, RI, were arraigned on murder charges, charged in the killing of Joseph Webster from Worcester.
Cori's bail was requested at $100,000 and Howze at $500,000. Judge Vito Virzi ordered both held without bail. Both pleaded not guilty.
An autopsy revealed Thursday morning that on Tuesday was that of Webster, who was last seen with Cori and Howze entering the Motel 6 on Route 9 in Northborough on March 14. He was reported missing by his family on March 14. The Worcester Telegram reported that Webster was borderline autistic and severely diabetic.
Northborough police visited the Motel 6 for a well-being check on March 16, which subsequently led to a search during which they located a "substantial amount of blood" in the room, according to prosecutor Lisa Casella.
The body was discovered in the storage container by a Providence K-9 unit after Cranston, RI, police followed a tip, according to Worcester District Attorney spokesman Tim Connolly.
According to Casella, Howze and Cori fled to Colonie, NY, and Howze was seen with the victim's car. Both were arrested in Colonie. Casella also said that a witness stated that Cori said she had been robbed by Webster and asked, "If a body had not been found, could she still be charged with murder?"
Cori's attorney, Michael Erlich, painted Cori as a victim, stating that she had grown up in foster care, where she was abused, including being burned. Adopted when she was 9, she attended Scituate High School and played ice hockey. She also, said Erlich, suffers from an auditory processing disorder.
Casella said Howze admitted to "having to poke a kid who had robbed Lara."
"When the client was in Superior Court," said Erlich, "tears came out of her eyes and there was nothing but that. None of the facts presented here have any detailed indication that she 'poked' someone. The person who struck the final blow was not my client. She is not the major aggressor."
Outside, Erlich told reporters, "She had nothing to do with the murder."
Mary June Ciresi told reporters later that Howze is a "scared kid," and pointed out in court that his extended family sat in the audience.
Howze yelled "I love you!" as he was led out of the courtroom.
Both are due back in court on May 2 for a pretrial hearing.
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