Jury deliberating fate of man accused of killing lover’s husband

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Closing arguments were made Friday after a trial that spanned three weeks.
Closing arguments were made Friday after a trial that spanned three weeks.

MANCHESTER, NH – A Hillsborough County Superior Court North jury is deciding if Anderson Pereira is a cold-blooded killer, as prosecutors contend, or an individual implicated in a cover-up, not a murder, as the defense maintains.

Pereira, 42, formerly of 142 Pleasant Valley St., Methuen, Mass., is charged with first-degree murder in the 2020 killing of his romantic rival, Zakhia “Zak” Charabaty in his home at 245 Pasture Drive. 

Pereira had been in a seven-year relationship with Flavia Deoliveira, prior to her marrying Charabaty, and they carried on their romance even after Deoliveira married Charabaty in January 2020.

Days before his death on March 13, 2020,  her son, Gabriel Baronto, and Charabaty had a heated argument.  Deoliveira and Baronto left the home to go live with Pereira in his Methuen, Mass. apartment.

Prosecutors said that after the argument, the couple reconciled and Deoliveira planned to return home on March 13, 2020, the same day her husband disappeared.  His body was found  July 12, 2020, buried at a construction site in Methuen.  An excavator unearth the remains.

The defense maintains that both Deoliveira and Baronto had motives to want Charabaty dead.  Charabaty, Attorney Theodore Lothstein said, had gone to an attorney and planned to annul his marriage, and Baronto, six days before Charabaty’s death, had threatened him.

Closing arguments were made Friday after a trial that spanned three weeks.

Senior Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Peter Hinckley, in his hour-long closing, conceded that the case against Pereira was circumstantial and that investigators did not find any of Pereira’s DNA or fingerprints tying him to the murder.

However, he said just because blood wasn’t found at the murder scene does not mean a murder didn’t take place.

The defense pointed out that the state never produced a murder weapon and that all evidence is circumstantial,

Hinckley said what the jury could rely on is digital DNA from both Pereira’s cell phone and Charabaty’s Apple watch.  Hinckley said Pereira worked hard to cover up the killing, as was detailed from video surveillance, cell phone tracking and physical evidence.  That included his wearing gloves; covering his bald head with a hooded sweatshirt; cleaning out Charabaty’s blood in the back of the victim’s box truck, which he used to transport the corpse from Manchester to the Bay State; smashing Charabaty’s cell phone, among other activity.

However, Hinckley said Pereira made a critical mistake when he turned on his cell phone, after getting lost in Massachusetts and needing directions, allowing investigators to track his movements in Methuen and Lawrence, Mass.

 Charabaty’s body was unearthed months later in Methuen by a worker using an excavator, which also damaged the corpse making it difficult for the medical examiner to determine an exact cause of death.

Pereira, Hinckley said, also was unaware that Charabaty’s Apple watch was in the truck’s console, which is how family members, who reported Charabaty missing, used his iPad to locate his truck in Lawrence where the accused murderer ditched it.

The movements of the killer, tracked by both cell phone and video surveillance obtained from Charabaty’s neighbors and from businesses, aligned exactly with Pereira’s cell phone, the prosecutor said.

He said there also was no evidence to suggest that either Deoliveira or Baronto had any involvement in the murder.

The defense, however, had a witness who, viewing video surveillance, maintained that the individual recorded on the video was Baronto and that she knew it was him because he had a specific gait. 

Hinckley countered that Baronto and Deoliveira’s cell phones, show them to be at the Methuen apartment at the time of the video recording.

Pereira, Hinckley said, was “ready, willing and able” to move Charabaty’s body; buy the shovel to use to dig a pit to bury him in; clean up the scene; calmly lie to investigators, and run when he knew police were on to him.”

He said Pereira had the “murderous desire” to kill Charabaty.  Pereira, he said, attacked Charabaty while he slept, wrapped his body in his own bedding, dragged him out of the house, and placed him in the victim’s own truck.  The clean-up continued in two Massachusetts cities.  Then, he said, as a killer would do, he fled, closing out his bank account and leaving his job, family and friends behind.

He was caught 18 months later in Florida where he told investigators a “fantastical tale” about a mysterious hitman that Charabaty hired to kill him, but later the hitman instead killed Charabaty and forced him to clean up the scene.

 Attorney Ted Lothstein, in his opening statement, said Deoliveira was heading into Salem District Court in October 2019 when she was met by federal agents from ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and was arrested for being in the country illegally. She was jailed for five days before Pereira could bail her out.

After she was released, she met Charabaty, a U.S. citizen, successful businessman with a delivery service and who drove a Mercedes. (Pereira, according to Lothstein, didn’t have a car and worked nights at the Texas Roadhouse in Methuen.)

After two or three face-to-face meetings, she moved into Charabaty’s home and less than three months later, on Jan. 23, 2020, her son’s 24th birthday, married him.  Deoliveira’s sister and son arrived from Brazil for the wedding and an extended stay.

Deoliveira, Lothstein said, knew she could get lawful status by marrying a U.S. citizen.  “She rushed to marry him,” he said.

The last text Charabaty sent was to his wife at 9 p.m. on March 12, 2020, telling her he was going to bed. 

That night, Deoliveira and Baronto were watching the Netflix series, “Stranger Things,” in Pereira’s apartment and took a screenshot of a scene from the show on Baronto’s cell phone.

“Why would anybody take a picture of a scene of “Stranger Things”?” Lothstein asked. 

The state contends Charabaty was killed the following morning while he slept in his bed.

Lothstein said Deoliveira did return to the house on March 13, 2020 to clean it, including changing the bed linens.





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Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.