BELMONT, Mass. — A Hudson man was found guilty of hitting and killing a black man during a racist road rage attack in Belmont 2 years ago.
A Middlesex Superior Court jury found 56-year-old Dean Kapsalis guilty of 2nd degree murder, violation of constitutional rights causing serious bodily injury, reckless conduct, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle) causing serious bodily injury, and leaving the scene after causing injury.
Officials say on January 19, 2021, just after 4 p.m., Belmont Police received a 911 call that a man had been hit by a car in the area of Upland Road. The victim, 34-year-old Henry Tapia, was found to have life threatening injuries and later died at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The Middlesex DA’s Office says the deadly crime stemmed from a simple argument about whether or not a blinker was being used. Kapsalis and Tapia both got out of their cars and started arguing. The incident seemed to have ended when both men went back to their cars, but officials say at some point, Kapsalis hurled a racial insult at Tapia, and then ran him over with his pickup truck.
Kapsalis fled the scene but later turned himself in to police.
Tapia left behind a wife and three children, who described him as the ultimate family man.
“This hate crime will forever be a part of Belmont’s history,” Chief James MacIsaac said, “but the courageous witnesses who came forward demonstrated that hate will not be tolerated here.”
Chief MacIsaac credits the testimony of witnesses, who he said didn’t hesitate to report what they saw and rushed to provide care to Tapia in his final moments.
“The murder of Henry Tapia is a senseless tragedy fueled by hate and anger,” District Attorney Marian Ryan said. “The fact that some of the last words Henry Tapia heard were a horrific racial insult meant to intimidate and threaten him based on the color of his skin is something we cannot tolerate. What is significant about today’s verdict is that when we have incidents in Middlesex County motivated by bigotry and racism, that hatred will not be treated as a background fact.”
For more information about reporting incidents of hate or bias, click here.
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