LOWELL, MA (The Boston Herald) – A man accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend and stabbing her 18 times with a broken beer bottle in Tewksbury was arraigned as “John Doe” today because he has a fraudulent Massachusetts ID as well as welfare cards — and police don’t know who he is.
The man, arraigned in Lowell District Court as John Doe aka “Luis Hernandez,” was held without bail. Police say he stole the identity of a Puerto Rican man. He is now being investigated by ICE to determine whether he is an illegal immigrant.
The man was charged with armed assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, mayhem, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, intimidating a witness, impeding a police investigation, possessing/using a false RMV document, identity fraud, furnishing a false ID to law enforcement, and assault and battery on a family/household member.
The man listened in court Tuesday afternoon as a Spanish interpreter relayed the charges.
“It’s unclear what his true identity is,” Assistant District Attorney Gregory Galizio told Judge Barbara Pearson.
The defendant told Pearson through the interpreter that his name is Luis Hernandez and he was born in January 1983.
On Monday, his ex-girlfriend living above Tewksbury Funeral Home tried to escape. The man had locked her in the bedroom Sunday night, police said.
While she tried to run away on the funeral home’s porch Monday morning, he allegedly struck her in the head with a Corona bottle, breaking it and causing a severe laceration on her head. The man then stabbed her in the back, neck, arms, chest and torso with the remaining piece of the broken bottle while yelling that he was going to kill her, police said.
A neighbor heard the commotion, came to the doorway and then called Tewksbury police.
The victim sustained 18 separate stab wounds and lacerations to her head, neck, back, left arm and right breast. Her ear was also severely injured. A plastic surgeon, consulted by emergency room staff at Lahey Medical Center in Burlington, said the ear injuries were “permanently disfiguring.”
When police found the man in the bedroom Monday morning, they said his right hand was covered in blood. He continued to drink from a beer bottle and responded, “No hablo Ingles” when they spoke to him, according to police.
Police later Monday in the apartment found small baggies that appeared to be cocaine.
As authorities investigated the man’s identity, they saw red flags from their “Identify the Imposter” training — when they believe someone has fraudulently assumed the identity of an American citizen.
Police are more frequently seeing cases of illegal immigrants, often Dominican nationals involved with drug cartels, fraudulently presenting biographical information to a government agency, such as the RMV, to obtain ID. Upon receiving that ID, the impostor can legally drive, register vehicles, travel by air, vote, receive state and federal benefits and be arrested, booked and fingerprinted under their assumed identity.
Police say the identities are usually taken from either the Puerto Rican Criminal History Index or the Puerto Rican DMV.
On Monday, Tewksbury police contacted Puerto Rican authorities, who provided a true copy of Luis Hernandez’ driver’s license. It was clear to Tewksbury police that the individual in custody was not the true Luis Hernandez.
This man has been using a MassHealth insurance card under the name Luis Hernandez, along with a Massachusetts ID card. He has also been receiving state assistance under the name Luis Hernandez.
Police later contacted ICE and advised them of the situation. An ICE agent arrived at the police station Monday afternoon to fingerprint the man.