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24-year-old woman charged with murder of her parents

Investigators were at the scene in Bedford where Jessica Cavallaro allegedly shot her parents in a car. Kayla Bartkowski for Boston

When officers arrived at the scene, they found a white Honda SUV on the lawn across from the 911 caller's house with two injured people inside, according to a Bedford police report.

Tatten, who was in the driver's seat, died at the scene, while Mark Cavallaro, who was in the passenger seat, was taken to Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington with life-threatening injuries. He died a few hours later. Both victims were 56 years old and lived in Bedford, authorities said.

Her daughter was arraigned in Concord District Court late Thursday afternoon. She pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon causing great bodily injury and two counts of illegal possession of a firearm.

Assistant Middlesex District Attorney Suzanne Wiseman requested that Cavallaro be held without bail.

After calling 911 reported that “the defendant had just killed her parents,” police found the two victims with “gunshot wounds to the head,” Wiseman said.

According to a police report, Cavallaro was dating 24-year-old Jarred Marchesini and lived with him and his parents, David and Joyce Marchesini, on Washington Street.

David Marchesini told police that Cavallaro came home from work early Thursday and said she was having a panic attack. She went to her room for about a half hour, then came downstairs and said she was going to have breakfast with her parents, the report said.

Cavallaro left the house but returned within minutes and said, “I just shot my parents.”

Then David Marchesini called 911.

According to the police report, Marchesini told police that Cavallaro may have taken the murder weapon from a safe in his home. His son also owned firearms and there were at least four other weapons in the house.

Cavallaro told an arresting officer that she was “contemplating suicide.” She was assigned “medium risk” on a suicide assessment form, the police report said.

The officer noted that Cavallaro's mascara was smeared from crying, she was fighting back tears and burst into tears twice – once when she was told she was charged with murder and again during a phone call with her boyfriend.

Cavallaro's public defender Lorenzo Perez said his client would undergo a medical examination by a “doctor appointed by the defense.”

Cavallaro sat next to Perez in the courtroom. She wore pink socks and a large blue shirt, her eyes cast down. Her wrists were handcuffed and her ankles shackled.

Jessica Cavallaro listened to the charges against her during her arraignment in Concord District Court.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Judge Lynn C. Brendemuehl ordered Cavallaro held without bail and set her next court hearing for August 20.

Outside of court, Perez said, the case was “absolutely unbelievable and difficult to understand.”

“I think the tragedy here is that we all know nothing about anything,” he said.

Perez said he has not yet had the opportunity to speak in detail with his client.

“It's a heartbreaking tragedy, but there is hardly any information,” said Perez. “My job now is to gather as much information as possible to understand this terrible tragedy as quickly as possible.”

Ryan lamented the senseless gun violence.

“These are horrific cases of domestic violence,” Ryan said. “They also point to what we talk about all the time, which is the proliferation of guns and the availability of firearms. Many of the incidents in recent weeks and months have involved firearms in the hands of people who shouldn't have them.”

District Attorney Marian Ryan held a press conference on the shooting Thursday afternoon. Kayla Bartkowski for the Boston Globe

A neighbor who introduced herself as Christine said she had lived in the area for 14 years.

“It was shocking to hear something like that,” she said. “It's out of the blue, it's crazy, and it doesn't happen here.”

She said she had never seen Cavallaro on the street.

Another neighbor, who introduced himself as Joe, said he went to high school with Cavallaro.

“I graduated with her,” Joe said. “I didn't really know her well, she was very quiet.”

Zoe Kramer, 19, who lives on the same street, said the shootings were “terrifying.”

“I'm a little bit shaken,” she said. “It's definitely very, very scary, especially because our community is pretty well connected.”

Thelma Tatten and Mark Cavallaro lived just over a mile away on Genetti Street.

As news of their murders spread, neighbors remembered them as a kind, warm couple.

Natalia Andrade noticed that the couple often said “hello” as they passed by.

“They are such nice people,” said Andrade, who has lived across the street from the couple for six years.

To the left of the couple's house, around 7 p.m., two small children were bouncing on a trampoline in the backyard. Two adults and two older children watched from a small wooden porch, sitting cross-legged and silent.

One of the children, 12-year-old Enzo Ghizzo, said Mark Cavallaro and Thelma Tatten were babysitting him. Ghizzo said he learned his neighbors had died from an online article Thursday night.

“When I was younger, they would take care of me sometimes,” Ghizzo said. “They would play with me in their yard, they were just so nice to us and so helpful.”

Ghizzo has lived next door to the couple for eight years and said he often saw them walking to their car together. They often exchanged pleasantries, but Ghizzo said it had been years since Cavallaro and Tatten had taken care of him.

“I can't believe what happened to them,” Ghizzo said, beginning to cry. “They didn't deserve what they got. They were really kind, caring and very considerate.”

Ghizzo said his mother, who was sitting nearby, didn't speak English well. Tatten always made an effort to talk to her, the boy said. “We played a lot of Uno together,” he said. “They had a whole Uno set and they gave it to me, and I was really happy.”

Globe correspondents Lila Hempel-Edgers and Nick Stoico contributed to this report.


John R. Ellement can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him @JREbosglobe. Ava Berger can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her @Ava_Berger_. Tonya Alanez can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her @talanez.