By Erin Tiernan
AMESBURY, Mass. – State troopers condemned a Lawrence Superior Court ruling indicting a Melrose man of stabbing a duty state trooper for two years for a mental illness or defect as “failure of justice … plain and simple. “
“This is a sad day for law enforcement, Trooper Torosian and the criminal justice system. Judge Jackie Cowin should be ashamed of this decision to allow a cold-blooded attempted murderer to go free,” the State Police Association of Massachusetts wrote in a statement on Facebook.
Nathan Aguilar was arrested on December 12, 2019 after stabbing trooper Stephen Torosian in the arm several times while sitting in his cruiser at a motorway construction site in Amesbury.
The judge on Wednesday found Aguilar not guilty of a lack of criminal accountability after a half-day banking process in which two experts – one hired by prosecutors and another from Aguilar’s defense team – both concluded there was a lack of criminal liability, what means that Aguilar cannot distinguish right from wrong.
SPAM provided a quick reprimand for the verdict.
“Nathan Aguilar planned his attack. He drove to a construction site. He parked behind Trooper Stephen Torosian. He dressed to appear part of the work team. Then he forcibly entered Trooper Torosian’s cruiser and stabbed him an unprovoked and planned ambush that led to Trooper Torosian’s medical retirement, the union said.
A then 18-year-old Aguilar stopped in a golden minivan around noon on December 12, 2019 and approached the driver’s door of the cruiser and waved, the state police said at the time.
Torosian was able to draw his pistol and fire a shot at Aguilar’s chest that paralyzed him from the neck down, and Torosian, according to state police, kicked the knife out of his grip.
According to police, Aguilar wore a hat with a mask that covered his face, brown pants and a reflective vest.
Torosian suffered numerous cuts on his left arm and was treated at Lawrence General Hospital.
Aguilar was flown to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
Torosian was one of a dozen police officers recently recognized by Governor Charlie Baker and given the Trooper George L. Hanna Memorial Awards for Valor.
“His immediate actions most likely saved his life as well as that of the unsuspecting construction crews who worked just a few meters away,” said a state police statement on the day of the award ceremony. “In addition, Trooper Torosian had recognized that the suspect was wearing a highly visible traffic vest like a construction worker’s during the attack and had the foresight to broadcast this description over the radio to alert other detail cruisers in the area.” was the beginning of a coordinated terrorist attack against law enforcement agencies. “
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