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Woman convicted in Holofcener death charged with theft

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

By Lisa Redmond

MediaNews

AYER — A 34-year-old Fitchburg woman who was convicted of motor-vehicle homicide for hitting and killing a 13-year-old Groton boy a decade ago is facing new legal troubles after being charged with stealing from her parents.

Melissa G. Reynolds-Barry, of 325 Main St., Apt. 4, pleaded innocent in Ayer District Court to identity fraud and larceny over $250 from someone over the age of 60 and was released on personal recognizance. She appeared in court for a pretrial conference on Sept. 28 and is scheduled to return to court Nov. 16.

According to court documents, Reynolds-Berry’s 62-year-old mother appeared at the Ayer Police Station last Dec. 3 to report the theft of her personal information, which was used to deduct $239 from her bank account. The mother accused her daughter of stealing the money while she lived with her parents in October 2010.

The mother reported to police that funds from her account were transferred to pay an overdue bill for a cellphone that had been turned off for nonpayment, the documents say.

When confronted about the missing money, Reynolds-Berry allegedly confessed to her mother in November 2010 to taking it. The mother later discovered that her daughter had stolen a number of household items, including dishes, a television and a steam iron, worth a total of about $250, according to court documents. The items were being used by Reynolds-Berry and her boyfriend in their Fitchburg apartment.

In November 2006, Reynolds-Berry had only been married three days when she was led away in handcuffs from Lowell Superior Court to begin serving a 2 1/2 to 3 years in state prison for the Sept. 1, 2001, death of 13-year-old Evan Holofcener of Groton.

Reynolds had been free since she was convicted in 2003 of felony motor-vehicle homicide. The trial judge had stayed her sentence pending all appeals. The state Appeals Court denied her appeal in August 2006 and, on Nov. 2, 2006, a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court refused to send the case to the full court, ending any hope of having her conviction overturned.

On Sept. 1, 2001, Reynolds apparently dozed off while driving along Farmers Row in Groton, swerved onto the sidewalk and hit Holofcener as he rode his bicycle, just a few days before he was to begin the eighth grade at Groton-Dunstable Middle School.

During her trial, the jury heard that Reynolds had been taking medication for depression and anxiety. While the defense argued there were no blood tests to prove Reynolds was under the influence, two witnesses testified Reynolds almost hit them on the road minutes before Holofcener was hit and killed.