Hudson man convicted of racially motivated murder


Hudson man convicted of racially motivated murder
Hudson’s Police Station stands off Cox St. Dean Kapsalis, 56, of Hudson was convicted of a 2021 Belmont murder. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

BELMONT – A Hudson man has been convicted of a 2021 murder that stemmed from a hate crime.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Belmont Chief of Police James MacIsaac announced on May 1 that Dean Kapsalis, 56, was convicted of shouting a racial insult at Henry Tapia, who was a 34-year-old man of color, before he hit him with a truck, ran him over and killed him in Belmont in Jan. 2021.

Kapsalis was convicted of second-degree murder; violation of constitutional rights causing serious bodily injury; assault and battery by means of dangerous weapon (motor vehicle) causing serious bodily injury; and leaving the scene after causing injury.

“The murder of Henry Tapia is a senseless tragedy fueled by hate and anger,” said Ryan in a press release. “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. It will be charged and prosecuted separately.

“Although nothing that happens in court can return Mr. Tapia to his grieving family, today’s convictions send a strong signal that those who commit hate fueled violence in this county will be held fully accountable,” said Ryan.

On Jan. 19, 2021, around 4:22 p.m., the Belmont Police Department received a 911 call reporting that a man had been struck by a car in the area of 39-45 Upland Road. 

According to the press release, officers immediately responded, and they found Tapia conscious but suffering from life-threatening injuries. The first responders provided emergency assistance until Belmont Rescue arrived on the scene and he was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital. He later died from his injuries.

In the release, Ryan’s office said that the investigation indicated that Kapsalis and Tapia had been engaged in a verbal altercation in the roadway. After the argument wound down, Tapia began to walk back toward his car. Kapsalis then “hurled” a racial slur at him, got into his truck and drove it at Tapia. Ryan’s office said the truck struck him and dragged him a “short distance” before Kapsalis fled. 

He later turned himself in to police. At trial, the defense argued that Tapia’s death was an accident, according to the release.

A few weeks after the incident, Hudson officials issued a statement condemning racism and acts of hatred.

“[This] is a wakeup call that people who are capable of acts like this live in every city and town in Massachusetts,” then-Hudson Executive Assistant Tom Moses told the Select Board.

The prosecutors assigned to the case are Nicole Allain and Maren Schrader. The victim witness advocate is Helena Clarke. Sentencing is set for June 27.

If you would like to report an incident of hate or bias you can do so on the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office website by filling out this form:


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