SALEM — A Salem family was left shaken and angry after a man police are now calling a career criminal smashed his way into their home early yesterday morning.
Carlos Vieira was arrested inside the Rawlins Street home, where he was being held down by Wayne Turner after a violent struggle. Vieira also allegedly pushed and shoved Turner's wife, Deanna, and his daughter, Christine, and smashed several items.
"I'm still emotionally a wreck over this," Deanna Turner said yesterday afternoon.
Vieira, 31, of 2 Esquire Circle, Peabody, is being held on $25,000 cash bail on charges of unarmed burglary and assault on an occupant and two counts of assault and battery and malicious destruction of property. He's also being detained without bail pending a probation violation hearing in an earlier case — one of numerous priors.
It was around 5 a.m., and Deanna Turner, the owner of Droll Designs, a small business that makes home decorations, was up having a cup of coffee in her living room when she heard some noises from the dining room.
"I though it was my cats," she said. "All of a sudden, I hear this screaming."
She ran to check and saw a man she did not know on the floor.
"What are you doing in my house?" she recalled yelling.
As the man, later identified by police as Vieira, stood up, Deanna Turner tried to push him away and realized he reeked of alcohol and was soaking wet. Vieira was yelling something about men trying to kill him as he moved around in the small room, knocking over a stereo and smashing a mirror.
"I just kept screaming," Deanna Turner said.
Within moments, her husband and daughter were coming down the stairs.
Vieira tried to flee into the darkened kitchen, shoving the couple's daughter and then running straight into a wall and falling over.
Wayne Turner stood over him holding him down with a chair, while Deanna grabbed a knife for protection and their daughter, Christine Turner, 19, called 911.
Then, after what seemed like forever, they saw the flashing lights of police cars. But no one came right to the house, Deanna and Christine said. A neighbor had mistakenly pointed officers toward another house, they said.
Inside the home, Vieira got away from Wayne Turner and was climbing the stairs to the bedroom when Wayne tackled him and then held him down on the stairs.
Meanwhile, Deanna was outside calling out to the police.
Throughout the ordeal, the Turners noticed something silver in Vieira's hand. They thought it was a weapon. It turned out to be a crack pipe, police said. And Christine said she heard him yelling that he owed people money and had to pay them.
Vieira's lawyer, Paul Woods Sr., told a Salem District Court judge yesterday that his client believes he was being chased by four men and needed to hide from them.
"He was yelling, 'They're going to kill me,'" Woods told Judge Richard Mori.
Salem police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said the responding officers ¬— nearly every officer on duty at the time — never saw anyone else running near the scene and are skeptical of Vieira's claim.
Prosniewski said prosecutors are expected to seek an indictment, which would expose Vieira to a state prison term, and may add a charge of being a career criminal.
That, said the police prosecutor, is a result of Vieira's lengthy criminal history, which includes 11 prior jail terms; convictions for assault, firearms violations and larceny; and the fact that he's on probation at the moment for drug charges.
In addition, Vieira was arrested twice last year on home-invasion charges in Salem, though the charges were later reduced in one case and dropped in the other.
One case, last February, resulted in a guilty finding and a sentence of time served, 74 days.
Another case last June was dropped by prosecutors when the victim, who had lived on Boston Street, failed to appear for a hearing in the case.
The Turners are disappointed that Vieira hasn't been charged with home invasion in their case.
"Whether they had a weapon or not, they terrified us all," Christine Turner said.
"I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Nobody should have to feel like that in their own home," Deanna Turner said. "I was scared to death."
Wayne Turner took a blow to his ribs, which were still healing from a recent accident, and Christine Turner suffered scrapes on her arm.
Their house is still in disarray, with Deanna spending her day boarding up the broken window, cleaning up shards of glass and putting things back in place.
The knowledge that Vieira had so many priors yet still remained on the street troubled the Turners yesterday, and they say they want to see him serve a lengthy jail term in his newest case.
"I hope he goes to jail for a very long time so I don't have to worry about us," Deanna Turner said. "I want him in jail. This is my home. To think someone can come into your home and terrorize you like that. That's enough."