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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Alum was victim of Waltham triple homicide

Published: September 16, 2011
Section: Front Page

Neighbors gather at the intersection of Harding Avenue and Main Street as police begin investigation. Photo by Ingrid Schulte/The Hoot.

Police found three men dead after an apparent homicide in a Waltham apartment Monday afternoon, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said, and a Brandeis alum was among the victims.

The deaths of Brendan Mess, 25, of Waltham; Erik Weissman, 31, of Cambridge; and Raphael Teken, 37, of Cambridge, who graduated from Brandeis in 1998 and majored in history, shocked the quiet dead-end street off of Main Street, as dozens of community members gathered behind police tape Monday, searching for answers from one another while detectives from the Waltham and State Police began an investigation.

Just before 2:30 p.m. Monday, Waltham Police responded to a report of three dead bodies inside an apartment at 12 Harding Ave. Speaking in front of reporters Monday evening, Leone described it as a “very graphic crime scene.” Mess was the only one of the three victims who lived in the apartment.

“Based on the present state of the investigation, it is believed that the victims knew the assailant or assailants, and the attacks were not random,” Leone said in a statement.

“There was a girl running out of the house saying, ‘There’s blood everywhere and there was like marijuana all over the bodies,’” a neighbor, Geoff Langston, said.

Photo from Brookline High School yearbook from 1992 of victim Raphael Teken '98.

The three victims appeared to have been stabbed to death with knives or ice picks, according to media reports. In autopsies, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the causes of death to be “sharp forced injuries of the neck,” Leone said in a statement on Thursday.

On Monday, Leone told reporters that two people in the apartment earlier that day were no longer there, implying that the assailant or assailants are still at large.

A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office said that police were searching for one or possibly more assailants. There were no updates on the investigation Thursday afternoon, she said.

The Hoot’s repeated attempts to obtain information about Teken and his time at Brandeis were unsuccessful on Thursday. Teken graduated from Brookline High School in 1992 and while his photo appeared in the high school yearbook, it could not be found in the Brandeis yearbook from 1998. Several professors and administrators said they did not know Teken.

Less than three miles from Brandeis, Harding Avenue is a dead-end street off Main Street, past the intersection of Main and Moody.

“It’s a family street,” Langston said.

As dusk turned to night on Monday, families gathered behind the yellow police tape. Police detectives shuttled back and forth. Leone drove away after his 8 p.m. press conference. Detectives continued to question neighbors and search for evidence. And reporters set up cameras for live shots to be shown on the nightly news.