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Convicted Sex Offender Charged In 1988 Murder Of Woman, Part Of DA’s Cold Case Initiative
Judy Chamberlain was found strangled to death in a basement in Boston's Seaport District.
A convicted sex offender has been charged with the 1988 rape and murder of a Boston woman as part of the district attorney’s initiative to focus on unsolved murders.
Richard Vega, 59, was indicted on Aug. 30 for the 1988 murder of Judy Chamberlain, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s statement obtained by Oxygen.com. Vega is accused of raping and strangling Chamberlain to death in the basement of a building in the Seaport District in Boston.
On Monday, District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced the indictment as part of a program designed to close cold cases.
“Following the extensive efforts of District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ Project for Unsolved Suffolk Homicides (PUSH) program, a grand jury returned an indictment against a man believed to have killed Judy Chamberlain in 1988,” said the DA’s office.
Vega, who also used the aliases Carl Vega, Ricardo Vega, and Ricardo Mazzerino, marks “the third individual indicted and charged in connection with a significantly older unsolved murder” since Rollins launched PUSH back in 2019, according to her office.
“Our family has waited 33 years for someone to be arrested for the brutal death of our sister, Judy,” said Chamberlain’s brother in the statement. “We thank all of those involved in his capture. Our sister can now lay in peace, and our family has closure. We love and miss you, Judy.”
On July 28, 1988, Chamberlain was found strangled to death in the former Fargo Building. According to the district attorney's office, evidence collected at the crime was processed through the FBI’s Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS). In 2011, the crime scene DNA provided a match to Richard Vega.
The investigation continued as prosecutors didn't feel at the time there was sufficient evidence prove Vega guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the district attorney's office.
A registered sex offender, Vega was previously required to submit a DNA sample as part of a 1990 conviction.
Vega was convicted on three counts of rape after assaulting an elderly woman in 1987, according to the Associated Press. Nearing the end of his 20-year-sentence, the state petitioned to have Vega stay in prison after meeting the criteria of Massachusetts’s Sexually Dangerous Person civil statute. A jury agreed, and he has been incarcerated ever since.
“I would like to thank the Boston Police Department for finally finding the guy who took my sister’s life,” Chamberlain’s sister said in the DA’s statement. “He took our sister, my mother’s daughter, and took Kevin and Carly’s Aunt away from us.”
In 2019, Rollins created PUSH, which brings fresh eyes to 1,300 unsolved cases dating as far back as the 1960s.
“Criminal investigations, especially homicides, are uniquely challenging. The passage of time only creates greater difficulty for investigators and prosecutors – memories may become blurry, witnesses may die or cannot be located – but the urgency to hold violent offenders and murders accountable never diminishes. Ever,” Rollins said in the statement.
“Ms. Chamberlain’s life mattered. And there will be a lifetime of accountability for her brutal murder and callous disposal,” she continued. “Judy’s family and loved ones never stopped loving her, and we never stopped searching for answers. It has been a long road, and we are so grateful for the excellent police and investigative work that got us to this moment.”