By Staff reports
Mon Jun 22, 2009, 08:50 PM EDT
, Norma Dorce Gilles, 41, of Lynn, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone informed the public Monday.
Lesly Cheremond, 48, of Everett, was found guilty of first degree murder and aggravated rape on Monday, June 22, by a Middlesex Superior Court jury. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of life in prison by Middlesex Superior Court Judge Jane Haggerty.
“This defendant has been found guilty for the brutal strangling of Norma Dorce Gilles and then for callously disposing of her body,” District Attorney Leone said. “He will now spend his life in jail for these disturbing crimes. We continue to offer our heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family. This is another stark example of the tragedies that have impacted far too many families as a result of domestic violence.”
Gilles had last been seen on February 13, 2008 at a hair salon where she worked at 374 Salem St. in Malden. A missing persons report was filed by her brother on February 23 with Lynn Police. Malden Police discovered Gilles’ car on February 27 on Faulkner Street in Malden and subsequently towed the car to the Police Department. Malden Police notified State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and a joint investigation was commenced. Gilles’ body was found in the trunk of her car.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner completed an autopsy and ruled the victim’s death a homicide caused by smothering of the mouth and nose and strangulation.
Cheremond worked in an adjacent business to the hair salon that Gilles was employed. Cheremond and Gilles had an argument on the day before she was last seen. Several hours after Gilles was last seen leaving the store, Cheremond came into Gilles’ salon and told a worker that he was taking Gilles handbag to her.
Inside Cheremond’s store, investigators found a key to Gilles’ car as well as trash bags that matched the type of bags that Gilles’ body was found wrapped in. Cheremond also gave inconsistent statements to friends and authorities during the weeks she was missing, including that she was on vacation, had left in a UHaul truck, and that she may not be back.
Cheremond was arraigned in Malden District Court on March 3, 2008 on a charge of first degree murder before District Court Judge Matthew Nestor, at which point he was ordered held without bail. He was indicted on a count of first degree murder on April 10, 2008, and arraigned on that charge in Woburn Superior Court on April 14, at which point he was ordered held without bail.
The trial team in this case was led by Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Keeley and included paralegal Patrick Demers and victim witness advocate Anne Foley.