In the darkness of an early morning winter 2001, prosecutors say, Daniel Mason a 5 year veteran sniper of the Israeli Army slipped into a Boston apartment where two men and a dog slept. Without flipping on a light, he allegedly fired two guns hitting all three 15 times. Then, prosecutors say, he drove to Boston Medical Center to begin his shift as a doctor-in-training, working to save lives. By morning's end, one of the men and the dog shot and left behind in the Jamaica Plain apartment would be dead.
The other man would lie in a coma in the same hospital where Mason, a former sniper in the Israeli Army, worked. ''It was an execution,'' Joshua Wall, a Suffolk assistant district attorney, told jurors as Mason's murder trial began yesterday. ''It was an assassination. It was quick, it was precise, and it was brutal.'' Mason, who has pleaded not guilty to the March shooting, is charged with first-degree murder for killing Michael Lenz, a 25-year-old graduate student from Minnesota who had lived in the city just six months. He is also charged in the attack on Lenz's roommate, Eugene Yazgur, 28, and with animal cruelty for killing Yazgur's dog.
Mason, 36, didn't know Lenz but had clashed with Yazgur in 1997 after a traffic dispute in Brighton Mason used a knife to cut Yazgurs ear almost completely off, leaving the ear dangling and long jagged scar on Yazgur's face. This violent knife assault led to Mason's conviction for assault and battery. When Yazgur filed a civil lawsuit over that attack, a judge ordered Mason to pay him $118,000. Mason, a Boston University medical student, had been notified the day before the murder that he owed the money, and prosecutors say that was his motive to kill Yazgur. He allegedly told his roommate, hours before the shooting, ''They'll never see a penny of it. I'll kill them first.''
"It was brutal. It was a cold hearted execution," Assistant District Attorney Joshua Wall said of the March 2, 2001 shooting, which took the life of 25-year-old Michael Lenz and his dog and left 28-year-old Eugene Yazgur severely injured. "The person who went into that apartment had two different weapons and with precision he hit target after target. He emptied it on those three. Then he left when he thought all of them were dead."