DA: Man wanted in Malden murder stabbed 79-year-old victim more than 30 times

MALDEN, Mass. — Law enforcement officials have issued a murder warrant for a Boston man wanted in the grisly stabbing death of a 79-year-old Malden resident whose body was found decomposing in his apartment last month.

Dion Smith, 33, is now wanted on a charge of murder in the death of Ronald Gilbert, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Malden Police Chief Glenn Cronin said in a joint statement.

Officers responding to a report of an odor coming from an apartment on Kennedy Drive in Malden on Feb. 22 found Gilbert dead inside with “obvious signs of decomposition,” officials said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later determined that Gilbert suffered 30 apparent stab wounds to his body, and based on a timeline constructed by investigators, he was likely killed in late December 2022. “So clearly the perpetrator had a pretty good head start,” said Marian Ryan, Middlesex County District Attorney.

Officials noted that Smith was not a resident of the building and the two did not appear to be known to each other.

“That’s kind of strange, I don’t know how he got into a building, how did he get into a building and knock on someone’s door and let you in, that’s unusual,” said John Castrucci, a neighbor.

A warrant had previously been issued for Smith for the charge of larceny in connection with the theft of Gilbert’s motor vehicle. The murder charge comes after state troopers and Malden police launched an extensive investigation into Gilbert’s death.

While the search continues for this killer, the DA says it’s a good reminder to be cautious when letting someone into a building.

“So if you have a locked door, but you hold the door for somebody behind you, that isn’t very helpful,” said Ryan.

Ryan says if you happen to see this suspect or know where he is, do not approach him, and call the police immediately.

Contact Malden police at 781-322-1212 or Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office at 781-897-6600.

Smith is described as 5 feet, 9 inches tall, about 165 pounds, balding, with brown eyes.

An investigation remains ongoing.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW