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Friday, May 10, 2013

Convicted murderer Kamberidis arrested after 22 years on run

NASHUA – After 22 years on the run, the Nashua man who jumped $50,000 bail and disappeared the night before a jury convicted him of beating to death his 2-year-old stepson has reportedly been arrested, convicted and sentenced on related charges,
according to the FBI.

Senior Special Agent Kieran Ramsey said Thursday night that more details about the capture of Steven Kamberidis, who was 23 and a resident of 51 Bluestone Drive, Nashua, when he fled on May 14, 1991, will be announced at a press conference set for 3:30 p.m. Friday at Nashua police headquarters. ...

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NASHUA – After 22 years on the run, the Nashua man who jumped $50,000 bail and disappeared the night before a jury convicted him of beating to death his 2-year-old stepson has reportedly been arrested, convicted and sentenced on related charges,
according to the FBI.

Senior Special Agent Kieran Ramsey said Thursday night that more details about the capture of Steven Kamberidis, who was 23 and a resident of 51 Bluestone Drive, Nashua, when he fled on May 14, 1991, will be announced at a press conference set for 3:30 p.m. Friday at Nashua police headquarters.

Daniel Chartier, the young victim’s uncle, said Thursday that the family had held out hope Kamberidis would be found and brought to justice.

“We’re happy, of course, and very relieved,” Chartier said of the news, which came from the FBI earlier Thursday.

“We talked about it now and then, over the years, but we weren’t sure how the Greek government would handle it,” Chartier added, referencing reports that Kamberidis was captured in Greece. A Telegraph story at the time of Kamberidis’s escape said he was a citizen of Greece and had a valid Greek passport, which raised concerns that he was a flight risk if released on bail.

Then-Superior Court Judge Linda Dalianis granted Kamberidis bail, which he posted about a week after his arrest. She imposed conditions including he live with his father, keep a steady job, report to probation officials regularly and have no contact with his wife and other stepson, according to The Telegraph.

Dalianis said at the time she granted the bail because Kamberidis’s attorneys – Mark Sisti and Nicholas Holmes – and the attorney general’s office both agreed to the terms.

The Telegraph reported that Kamberidis’s father, Christos, posted the family’s flooring business for his son’s bail.

For the Chartiers, the assailant’s capture answered a lot of prayers. “We always hoped someday, somehow, he’d get his due,” Chartier said. He added that the Chartiers “lost all contact” with James Chartier’s mother, Tracey Kamberidis, not long after the verdict.

Chartier said his brother, James, also reacted with relief and satisfaction to the news of Kamberidis’s capture. On Thursday, James Chartier was making plans to attend Friday’s press conference, his brother said.

A jury convicted Kamberidis of second-degree murder on May 15, 1991 – reading the verdict to an empty chair, according to The Telegraph – for causing the death of James Chartier, whose family cheered the verdict delivered in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester.

Ramsey called the manhunt for Kamberidis “a long, long road,” and said the case is “a very complicated matter” that would best be explained at the press conference.

“We want to make sure we all do it together,” Ramsey said of the press conference, at which representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s office, the state Attorney General’s office, the FBI Boston Division-New Hampshire Resident Agency and Nashua police are scheduled to preside, according to an FBI press release.

Where, and what led to, Kamberidis’ capture also will be detailed at the press conference, Ramsey said. “We’ll explain all of that then … how we tracked him, and so forth.”

Ramsey indicated Kamberidis was charged with new offenses stemming from his flight.

“He’s already had a state conviction,” Ramsey said, referring to the May 15 jury verdict, “but this is a furtherance of that.”

Kamberidis was arrested on Nov. 19, 1989, hours after James Chartier died of massive head injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was accused of striking the boy and “knocking him to the floor” in the Bluestone Drive condo he and Tracey Kamberidis shared with James and Tracey’s other son, Nicholas, who was 5 at the time. Steven and Tracey Kamberidis married in April 1989, The Telegraph reported.

Tracey Kamberidis found James “unresponsive,” and brought him to St. Joseph Hospital, but that wasn’t until 10:30 the following morning, more than 14 hours after her husband knocked the boy to the floor.

James died early the morning of Nov. 19 in Boston. Officials also weighed charging Tracey Kamberidis, but no charges were filed, according to The Telegraph.

The trial was difficult, especially for the Chartier family, The Telegraph reported. They listened to testimony that described James’s injuries – which included a 4-inch skull fracture – that were equivalent to those a child would sustain falling from a third-story window.

As a full-scale manhunt for Kamberidis was ramping up in the region, the Chartiers heard the verdict they’d hoped for – even though the defendant wasn’t there.

“He’s guilty and he knows it,” James Chartier told a Telegraph reporter at the time. “This is exactly why he’s not here.”

Tracey Kamberidis, who couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday, sat by herself for most of the deliberations. She declined comment after the verdict, mumbling “I have nothing to say” to a reporter.

The night he disappeared, Kamberidis was last seen around 9:30 at 169 Poplar Ave., Manchester, where his parents lived at the time. In Nashua, police scoured his Bluestone Drive condo and another address he gave – 59 Coburn Woods – for clues as other agencies fanned out from Manchester.

A wide net was cast, The Telegraph reported. Officials notified Canadian border patrol, airports and immigration officials, likely reaching out to Greek authorities as well.

About two months later, with Kamberidis still in the wind with nary a trace of his whereabouts known, Superior Court Judge William Groff, who presided over the trial, granted a request by the attorney general’s office to sentence him in absentia, The Telegraph reported.

Groff also gave bail bondsman Cosmo Gilberti until Dec. 13 – about five more months – to locate Kamberidis, and thereby recoup the $50,000 he’d otherwise owe the state.

But Sisti and Holmes objected to Groff’s sentencing order, arguing Kamberidis has the right to be at his sentencing. They also claimed in their written objection that there was no substance to the state’s contention that Kamberidis “may have left the country.”

“The state’s position is based on nothing more than speculation,” they wrote.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).