Murder suspect denied bail

RYAN HUTTON/ Staff photoNiko Blanco, 24, is arraigned in Lawrence District Court on Friday on a murder charge for allegedly killing Ellis J. Wright, of Lynn on June 19th near the Manchester Street Park in Lawrence. At right is his attorney John Apruzzese.

LAWRENCE — An Amesbury man suspected of a mid-June killing was arraigned in Lawrence District Court on a murder charge, although no new information on the case was revealed in open court.

Niko Bianco, 22, was held without bail after he was charged on a state police warrant for murder Friday afternoon.

Police records on the matter were impounded after a private, sidebar conference with Judge Kevin Gaffney.

Defense attorney John Apruzzese asked for an initial plea of “not guilty” to be entered on Bianco’s behalf.

Dressed in orange prison scrubs, Bianco was driven from New Hampshire on Friday where he had been arrested and charged as a fugitive after the June 19 murder in Lawrence of Ellis Wright, 22, of Lynn.

On June 19, a jogger found Wright’s body in a parking lot near 85 Manchester St. where the market and wholesaler La Fruteria is located. The parking lot is next to Manchester Street Park and the Spicket River.

Wright was found lying on his back and a handgun was located near his left hand.

A prescription drug bottle, car keys and a ball cap could also be seen nearby in a pool of blood.

After the body was found, police put out a radio alert to be on the lookout for Bianco, who was reportedly driving a 2015 Honda Accord.

Lawrence and state police detectives, Manchester, New Hampshire, police and state troopers assigned to the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section found Bianco the next night near Lake and Wilson streets in Manchester, according to Manchester police.

Bianco was held at the Valley Street House of Correction in Manchester after his arrest in that state.

In Essex County, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office routinely asks for records to be impounded — blocked from the press and public’s view — until an Essex County grand jury hands down indictments in the cases.

The indictments mean the case is transferred to superior court, where the penalties can be more severe.

The punishment for first-degree murder is life in prison without parole.

Prosecutor Karen Hopwood is assigned to the case.

Bianco is due back in court Aug. 22 for a probable cause hearing.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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