Marco Tulio Flores, 17, had been tormented by memories of sexual abuse at the hands of a family friend when he found a photograph of a young relative in his abuser’s home. The traumatic memories came flooding back.
Jaime Galdamez, a 31-year-old native of El Salvador who lived in East Boston, was a family friend of the Flores family who lived across the street. Galdamez had also sexually abused Flores from when he was 9-years-old until he hit puberty. Flores had never told anybody about the abuse and Galdamez remained a close family friend, even being entrusted to babysit the Flores children after school.1
On the 22nd of May, 2011, Flores picked up a video camera and aimed it at himself. “Today is the day,” he said. “I’m off now. I’m gonna go for a bliss walk, then I’m gonna head down there.”2 Flores then picked up a dog chain he had purchased for the dog his mother made him get rid of as well as a knife. It was this warm summer evening that Flores decided he was going to “kill a pervert.”
A week earlier, Flores had found a photograph of his 6-year-old nephew in Galdamez’s apartment. Something inside him snapped and all the traumatic memories came flooding back; he knew what the photograph meant and knew he needed to protect his nephew to prevent him going through the same treatment he went through. Now, he was making the way to Galdamez’s apartment on Saratoga Street. Once inside, he tied Galdamez up and confronted him about the years of sexual abuse; while alone after school, Galdamez had molested the young Flores on numerous occasions.
On camera, Galdamez confessed to the abuse after initially denying it. At one point, Flores lifted out the knife and was preparing to slit Galdamez’s throat. However, Galdamez requested that he be strangled to death with the dog chain instead as “there would be too much blood” and it would be too painful. Flores complied and then asked Galdamez if he was ready. When Galdamez nodded, Flores placed the dog chain around Galdamez’s neck and tightened his grip until Galdamez stopped moving. 3
When Galdamez stopped breathing, Flores looked towards the video recorder and said it had felt good to accomplish his goal – to protect other children and get rid of his abuser. “I can think so much clearer now,” he said as he sat down on the bed.
Flores then dragged Galdamez’s body to the bed and doused it with lighter fluid and went home. As sun broke the following morning, Flores returned to Galdamez’s apartment and stole a computer and large screen television. He then dropped a lighted match through the window and fled from the scene. When the apartment went up in flames, the two neighbours living in the same apartment block fled and called the local fire department. When the flames were extinguished, the firefighters came across the bound and burned body of Galdamez. The grisly murder shocked the small community. They were even more shocked when 17-year-old Flores handed himself into the East Boston Police Station just 18 hours later, confessing to the murder and the motivation behind the murder.
On the computer that Flores had taken from the apartment, forensic specialists found hundreds of pornographic images of young boys. They also found encrypted chats in which Galdamez spoke about abusing Flores and other young boys. He wrote that boys around ten-year-old were his preferred victim because they were the most susceptible, adding that “they will ask for it.” Shortly before his murder, Galdamez had posted a photograph of Flores as a young boy, captioning it “He was so beautiful then.” He also wrote that he knew a number of young boys and that “there are some good ones coming up,” including Flores’ nephew.
Flores’ defense lawyer, James Budreau, stated: “The dam broke. He couldn’t stop himself. He did what he did not out of vigilantism, but a perceived threat to these children.”4 Flores did not want another child to go through what he went through. The prosecution argued that Flores’ actions were committed with “deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity.”
As news of the murder made the headlines, many called for Flores to be released. District Attorney Ian Polumaum said: “I know there are people out there saying ‘Let him go; don’t prosecute him at all.’ But you can’t go out and kill somebody no matter what he did to you.”
The case took two years to finally come to court. Initially, Flores had been charged with first-degree murder which carried a life sentence. However, in 2013, Flores took a deal in which he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, arson and attempting to escape. The attempt to escape charge stemmed from an unsuccessful attempt to flee from Nashua Street Jail in late 2011. During his sentencing phase, Flores remained composed and polite. However, when the abuse he suffered as a child was detailed, he became visibility upset and had to fight back tears. Flores was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by 15 years probation.
When he is released, he will most likely be deported back to El Salvador since he is not an American citizen and pleaded guilty to a felony. He is currently incarcerated at the Souza-Baranowski maximum security prison in Shirley. “Killing someone is never worth it,” he said. “But I don’t feel bad for him. I feel like he was a very bad person. It’s not like he tried to seek help. He chose to do it. I’m not saying I don’t have remorse. But I don’t feel sad for him passing away.”