Stalker’s murder conviction in pipe bomb killing is upheld

Published: 1/13/2017 4:22:02 PM

BOSTON (AP) — A man who stalked a waitress for months, then sent her a pipe bomb that killed her will not get a new trial, the state’s highest court ruled Friday.

The Supreme Judicial Court upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Peter Caruso in the death of Sandra Berfield.

Caruso was a regular at the Bickford’s restaurant in Medford where Berfield worked. After Berfield rejected Caruso’s request for a date, he began stalking her.

Caruso was convicted in May 1999 of pouring battery acid in the gas tank of Berfield’s car. He was sentenced to six months in county jail and ordered to pay restitution.

In January 2000, Berfield walked out to her front porch and picked up a package addressed to her. The pipe bomb inside exploded, killing her instantly.

In his appeal, Caruso insisted he was not the person who put the package on Berfield’s porch. He also argued that the testimony of a jailhouse snitch should not have been allowed.

The high court disagreed and declined to overturn his conviction.

After her car was vandalized, Berfield obtained a civil restraining order against Caruso. At the time, criminally enforceable restraining orders were only granted for people who were related to or dating their stalkers. Because Berfield never had a relationship with Caruso, that option was not available to her.

After Berfield was killed, her family waged a decadelong campaign to change the law. In 2010, the law was amended to extend criminal protection orders to victims of stalking and sexual abuse who do not have a dating or familial relationship with their perpetrators.


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