December 30, 2007
In the back alleys of the city, they say the Stomper has more than nine lives. Well, he's just used up another two.
Dennis Connolly, 53, is a self-described street alcoholic with a felony record for beating others - including fellow homeless people - and then coming back to commit further brutality after a stint behind bars.
City Weekly dubbed him the Boston Stomper in a 2005 story that chronicled his violent exploits, particularly his habit of kicking his victims.
That year, Connolly was set free after serving nine months for laying the shoe leather to a 48-year-old homeless man named Kenneth Kane, who later died. Connolly had only been charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Eleven days ago, Connolly was in Suffolk Superior Court to face a jury on another allegation of assault. This time, prosecutors say, it was not his boot that Connolly wielded against a convenience store clerk in South Boston back in April.
It was a box cutter.
According to authorities, Connolly pulled it when the clerk saw the Stomper shove a carton of ice cream inside his coat, and he wouldn't put it back. "Come on outside," Connolly allegedly said to the employee. "Me and you right now."
Instead, the store manager dialed 911. After police came, they say they frisked Connolly and found the blade.
As officers placed Connolly in a cell, prosecutors say, he threatened one of the cops, too, saying: "If you show up at court, I swear on my dead mother's soul something bad is gonna happen to you."
Connolly was charged with intimidating a witness, but the jury didn't buy it and found him not guilty.
On the count of assault with a dangerous weapon in the episode of the box cutter, the jury declared itself "hopelessly deadlocked" and unable to come to a verdict. Connolly's lawyer, Derege Demissie, says he argued that his client did not wave the box cutter menacingly but merely produced it after the clerk asked him what else he had on him.
A retrial has been scheduled for March 10.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.