, Salem, MA

Local News

March 29, 2014

Parole denied in dragging death

Lynn man killed outside Peabody bar in 1998

PEABODY — The state Parole Board has denied a bid for release by a man who admitted driving into a crowd outside a Peabody bar, running down a woman and then dragging her boyfriend to his death 16 years ago.

Gerson Chavez, who also used the name Eremilson Barbosa, “is neither remorseful nor rehabilitated,” the board said in a toughly worded decision in which members concluded that Chavez continues to lie about and minimize his role in Paul Cunha’s death.

During a parole hearing last year, Chavez said he had no idea he’d struck and run over anyone, insisting he would have stayed at the scene and tried to help.

But board members were skeptical, saying they do not believe Chavez didn’t notice Cunha, 24, holding onto the bumper for dear life and screaming as Cunha dragged him down Walnut Street for 400 feet. Cunha eventually lost his grasp, slipped beneath the car and was run over.

Also run over repeatedly was Anna Marconi, then 27, Cunha’s girlfriend. After knocking both Cunha, of Lynn, and Marconi, of Peabody, to the ground, Chavez drove over the woman, backed up over her, and then pulled forward again, driving over her a third time, before speeding down the street with Cunha still on the car.

After running over Cunha, Chavez, who was drunk at the time, lost control of the car and crashed into a curb. He fled on foot to an apartment.

Marconi spent three months in a coma, she told a judge during Chavez’s sentencing in November 1998. Her injuries left her with permanent brain damage.

Chavez, a Brazilian national in the United States illegally after jumping bail in a California deportation proceeding, was found hours later, hiding in a closet inside a Peabody apartment. He claimed to police that he had been working all day and that someone had borrowed his car.

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