David J. Fredette, ’99
“The challenge with a high-profile case,” observes Dave Fredette, ’99, “is that there are a lot more people watching everything you do. And everyone expects you not to make any mistakes.” It’s clearly a challenge he’s equipped to meet. When two former New York Yankees were charged with assaulting a Boston Red Sox groundskeeper in the frenzy of the 2003 championship series, Fredette was on the case. He also made the news for his successful prosecution of the son of a prominent Boston CEO on charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
“Mr. Fredette was very passionate about this case,” recalls Tonya David, mother of random shooting victim Kai Leigh Harriott. “He wanted to make sure that Kai would grow up without this man on the street.”In the summer of 2003, three-year-old Kai Leigh Harriott was struck and paralyzed by a stray bullet as she played on the third-floor porch of her family’s apartment in Dorchester. Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney David Fredette ’99 was assigned the case. “My primary goal, of course, was to prosecute the person responsible for the crime,” says Fredette. “Much of the work involved building the case for court—working with victims, intended victims, and investigators, figuring out who all the players were, who would testify, validating the evidence.”But when Kai and her mother decided they wanted forgiveness, not vengeance, the dynamic of the prosecution abruptly changed. “We had a very emotional meeting in the judge’s chambers,” says Fredette. “The result was a decision that was fair and respectful of everyone.”According to press accounts at the time of the trial, presiding Superior Court Judge Margot Botsford called the victim-impact statements by Kai and her mother Tonya David the most moving she had heard in 17 years on the bench. The shooter, Anthony Warren, pled guilty to avoid trial. He was sentenced to 13-15 years in state prison plus five years probation. “In a case like this, there’s usually a lot of anger in the community toward the perpetrator,” Fredette explains. “So when Kai forgave Warren in open court, it had an incredible impact on all of us.”