Brutal Encore Boston Harbor Attack Leads to Four Indictments

Four Massachusetts residents were indicted this week in connection with a violent assault in October at the Encore Boston Harbor. One was a casino employee.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced multiple indictments this week in connection with a violent assault at the Encore Boston Harbor. (Image: Boston Globe)

The victim was allegedly kicked and stomped in the head and torso by two of the suspects while the indicted trio were in an elevator of the Everett gaming property.

Matthew Haley, 27, of Cambridge, and Jose Mercado, 32, of Boston, were indicted Thursday by a Middlesex County grand jury on a count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. Haley was also indicted on assault and battery.

An Encore employee, Brittany Dawson, 24, of Stoneham, was also indicted, as was Leilani Reyes, 20, of Somerville, on a count of impeding a gaming investigation. Dawson was also indicted on acting as an accessory after the fact.

On Oct. 23, Haley allegedly punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall to the floor of the elevator, according to a statement from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Haley then allegedly repeatedly kicked and stomped on the man’s head and body, with Mercado allegedly assaulting the victim, too. Reyes allegedly watched.

The employee, Dawson, allegedly held a door to the garage — from the elevator bay — open for the men to escape, and then drove them away from the casino, Healey added.

It was further revealed by the attorney general that the victim and the defendants did not know each other before the attack. Helping investigators and prosecutors in their inquiry was video of the attack that was recorded by surveillance cameras.

Encore Trying to Appeal to High Rollers

When asked for comment on the indictments, the Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who closely studies New England gambling trends, told the incident was not expected.

“It comes [as] a bit of a surprise, especially given that Encore is trying to serve the high rollers. But high rollers are not leaving the casino at night,” McGowan said.

He also noted the attack “sounds like it involves alcohol or some dispute. Encore needs to examine its alcohol policy.”

As far as minimizing the risk of future incidents, McGowan said, “Given that an employee [allegedly] helped them escape, you do wonder how many police would you need, and how would you place them?”

A spokeswoman for Encore Boston Harbor — a Wynn Resorts Ltd. casino — declined to comment on the October attack.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission took part in the investigation of the crime. When asked for comment on the indictments, commission spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll told on Friday, “We respectfully decline to comment on this matter and defer to the AG’s [Attorney General’s] statement.”

Encore Boston Harbor Has Seen Multiple Assaults

Since opening in June, the casino has been the scene of several crimes. Between June and November, over 160 people reportedly were arrested or given a summons at the Encore Boston Harbor, WCVB TV News reported in November.

Disorderly conduct, assault and battery, larceny, and cheating were among the most common charges at Encore. Arguments, fights and motor vehicle accidents are among the most frequent types of incidents which led to a police response, the TV station added.

Among the notable incidents was one in August which involved multiple fights and rowdiness. Several people were arrested.

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