Mass. man guilty in murder of lover’s husband; faces life in prison

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Anderson Pereira during Friday’s closing arguments in court. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER, NH – Anderson Pereira faces life in prison without parole after a jury found him guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in the killing of Zakhia “Zak” Charabaty, who was slain in his bed, wrapped in his own bed sheets and then driven to Methuen, Mass., and buried in a construction site.  

Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said the case against Pereira, 42, formerly of 142 Pleasant Valley St., Methuen, consisted of an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence.   That included data from cell phones, and footage from residential and commercial security cameras, including a recording of Pereira buying a spaded shovel at Home Depot in Methuen.  Put together, it pointed to Pereira as the lone killer, he said.

After the verdict was announced in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District, Hinckley said Pereira did not take the stand but statements he gave to investigators “we argued were just as damning.  He just gave lies about his activities.”  

Charabaty, 52, was reported missing on March 13, 2020.  His body wasn’t found until four months later, buried at a Methuen construction site.  It had been unearthed by a worker operating an excavator.

Hinckley said investigators were able to corroborate through cell phone data that Charabaty’s widow, Flavia Deoliveira, and her son, Gabriel Baronto, were at home in Methuen at the time her husband was killed.  The defense suggested both had motives to kill Charabaty:  Charabaty had met with an attorney and was seeking to have his two-month-long marriage annulled, while Baronto had threatened him six days before Charabaty disappeared.

Prosecutors, however, said Charabaty and Deoliveira had reconciled and she and her son were returning to their 245 Pasture Road home.  After Baronto argued with Charabaty, he and his mother moved in with Pereira, Deoliveira’s lover of seven years, including while she was married to Charabaty.

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Superior Court Justice Will Delker listens during closing arguments Friday. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Hinckley said “one can never know what drove Mr. Pereira but that’s the argument that we made” that jealousy is what led to the murder.  “Zak taking her (Flavia) away from him,” Hinckley said.

Pereira also was found guilty of two counts of falsifying physical evidence and theft by unauthorized taking.

Charabaty’s family members, along with his ex-wife, were pleased with the verdict.

“At the end of the day, we just wanted justice,” said Marie Charabaty, Charabaty’s sister-in-law. “He was taken away from us and he didn’t deserve it. We’re very happy that the person who did it is held accountable for it.  We’re very grateful.”

 She and Charabaty’s former wife, Ruth Shiebler, who had texted her ex-husband the same day he disappeared, attended the trial daily for the three weeks it lasted. 

“It was very tough to hear but we wanted to know the truth,” Marie Charabaty said. “It made us feel we had the right person.”

Marie Charabaty, Boutros Charabaty, and Ruth Shiebler talk with reporters after Anderson Pereira was convicted of killing Zak Charabaty./Pat Grossmith
Marie Charabaty, Boutros Charabaty, and Ruth Shiebler talk with reporters after Anderson Pereira was convicted of killing Zak Charabaty./Pat Grossmith

Deoliveira testified under a grant of immunity. Asked what she thought of Flavia’s testimony, Marie Charabaty said, “Flavia is Flavia that is all I can say to that.”  She said she was not surprised that Flavia was not present for the verdict. 

Boutros Charabaty, Charabaty’s nephew, was the first one who realized his uncle was missing. 

“I thought he was dead immediately,” he said.  “After a few hours of calling around to hospitals and stores where he should have been and remembering the fight he had had the previous week, there would be no reason for Zak to go off the map and not pick up phones. And, certainly, there would be no reason for his truck to be parked by a river in Lawrence, Mass.”

The family located the truck through Charabaty’s Apple watch which was in the glove box.

Charabaty and Deoliveira were married on Jan. 20, 2020, according to defense attorneys. 

They had met the previous October, shortly after Deoliveira was released from jail.  She had been picked up by ICE and was facing deportation for being in the United States illegally from Brazil.  The defense said Deoliveira knew marrying a U.S. citizen was a way to obtain lawful status.  

On March 7, 2020, however, Charabaty and Deoliveira’s son, Gabriel Baronto, had a heated argument.  Charabaty called Baronto derogatory names, said he had no manners and no education.

Baronto moved toward Charabaty as if he were going to hit him.  He said he was going to make one side of Charabaty’s face “crooked” or “droop” to match the other side.  One side of Charabaty’s face was paralyzed. 

“This is my home,” Charabaty said.  He pointed to the door and told him to “get the fuck out.”

Both Deoliveira and Baronto left the Pasture Road home and went to stay with Pereira in Methuen. 

Deoliveira and Charabaty later reconciled and he asked her and her son to return home.  She planned to go back on March 13, 2020.  The last text Charabaty sent was to his wife at 9 p.m. on March 12, 2020, telling her he was going to bed.

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

NH Asst. Attorney General Peter Hinckley
Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley during closing arguments on March 17, 2023. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Defense attorney Ted Lothstein, in his opening remarks, said Deoliveira did return to the house on March 13, 2020, to clean it, including changing bed linens.

Defense attorneys contended the state’s evidence implicated Pereira in a cover-up, not a murder. 

Investigators honed in on Pereira after they recovered data from his cellphone and Charabaty’s Apple watch, along with footage from residential and commercial video surveillance.  Prosecutors said the cellphone data aligned exactly with the killer’s movements.  

The day after Pereira spoke to Manchester police, Pereira closed out his bank accounts and fled to Florida where he used an alias.  He wasn’t located until October 2021, when he was stopped by Florida Fish & Game officials.  He ran but was quickly apprehended and later brought back to New Hampshire to face charges.

The defense pointed out that the state had no DNA or physical evidence tying Pereira to the murder.

Hinckley countered that just because blood wasn’t found at the murder scene does not mean a murder didn’t take place.

He 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; 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.

Pereira, Hinckley said, 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 murderer ditched it.

When Pereira was caught 18 months later in Florida, Hinckley said 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.

Pereira is to be sentenced on April 5.


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Editor’s note: The headline has been adjusted to correct an editing error. We strive for accuracy despite our human capacity to occasionally make mistakes.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.