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Springfield man, acquitted in 2010 homicide, back in court on gun charges

July 14, 2016

SPRINGFIELD — A 27-year-old city man acquitted on a murder charge in 2012 was back in Hampden Superior Court Wednesday to face gun charges.

Jason Stovall, of 1114 Liberty St., denied four charges at his superior court arraignment Wednesday: carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a large capacity feeding device and receiving stolen property (a stolen firearm).

Judge Mark D. Mason set bail at $25,000 cash. Stovall is represented by attorney Joe Smith III.

Stovall was arrested in May as police investigated a report of shots fired in the city's Six Corners neighborhood. He was arrested after a foot pursuit, police said.

The gun — described by police as a semi-automatic handgun — was reported stolen in Virginia last year.

The arrest came after police responded to an activation of the department's ShotSpotter system in the area of 86 Cedar St. at 3:46 a.m. Saturday, May 21.

When officers Jacob Strange, Christian Cicero, Stephen Sicard and John Barlow arrived to investigate, Sgt. John Delaney said at the time, a witness described seeing a man "display" a firearm before firing several shots and running toward Ashley Street.

On Ashley Street, officers Jonathan Turner and Juan Hernandez saw a man matching the witness's description; when they approached, Delaney said, the man ran, and officers saw him throw a gun under an SUV near Cedar and Ashley streets.

Police pursued the suspect "over fences and through backyards," catching up with him at a fence that was "too tall" to climb, Delaney said, adding that after the arrest police recovered the gun, which was loaded and showed evidence of having recently been fired.

Stovall was one of two city men charged in the 2010 slaying of 21-year-old Jonathan G. Santiago in what police described as an attempted robbery. Santiago, a graduate of the High School of Science and Technology, was shot in his car outside a bar at the corner of State and Austin streets around 12:30 a.m. on May 30, 2010.

A Hampden County jury in March 2012 found Stovall not guilty of murder and firearms charges filed in connection with Santiago's killing. Jurors convicted co-defendant Anthony E. Jessup on murder and two firearms charges; he was given a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors said Stovall was present when Jessup shot Santiago, and that the defendants had planned the robbery together. Stovall's defense attorney argued there was no evidence proving his client participated in planning the robbery.

Mass Live - Springfield