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Medford man convicted of murder in 2013 U.S. Army veteran death

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A Medford man was convicted of first-degree murder of a U.S. Army veteran in 2013 during his retrial last week, according to officials.

Jessie Williams, 34, was also convicted of armed robbery, armed assault in a dwelling, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury and unlawful firearm possession in connection with the murder of Joseph Puopolo Jr. in Stoneham more than a decade ago.

Williams’ conviction results from a retrial after a previous conviction was overturned by the Supreme Judicial Court in 2021. Officials said a deliberating juror was improperly replaced with an alternate by the former trial judge during deliberations.

Puopolo, 27 when he died, had served in Afghanistan until 2011. Williams and his cousin Eugene Tate went to the Stoneham residence trying to purchase marijuana in July 2013 but then attempted to rob Puopolo and another individual who, prosecutors previously stated arranged the drug deal. Williams and Tate both fired their weapons during the ensuing struggle, resulting in Puopolo’s death and the other individual being seriously injured, according to officials.

Upon arrival to the Micah Pond Way residence, police said Puopolo had sustained gunshot wounds to the chest and forearm. He was transferred to Lahey Clinic where he was pronounced dead. Puopolo’s father told the Herald in 2013 his son had recently taken the exam to qualify for the state police.

“He’s a hero to his family, he’s a hero to his friends, and most importantly, he’s a hero to our country,” Puopolo’s sister, Dominica, said following his death. “He died a hero in all of our eyes.”

“Joseph Puopolo, Jr. was the victim of a senseless, violent robbery that was driven by greed,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement. “The defendant in this case came to meet his victims armed and prepared use violence if he met resistance.”

Tate, of Malden, was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery, armed assault in a dwelling and unlawful possession of a firearm in November 2015. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole later that month.

Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on the new conviction at Middlesex Superior Court on Monday at 2 p.m.

“This case exemplifies our commitment to the families of victims even when a decade may have passed and court rulings require us to revisit a case,” Ryan said.

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