Trial set in deadly crime spree | News

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SALEM — A trial has been set for December in a deadly March 2017 crime spree that stretched across Essex County, leaving a young Salem man dead and victimizing three women. 

Brian Brito, 27, who was last known to be living in Manchester, New Hampshire, before his arrest, is now set to stand trial on Dec. 5. 

His lawyer, John Cunha, told a Salem Superior Court judge on Tuesday that Brito will mount a defense of lack of criminal responsibility or so-called “insanity” defense at trial. 

The most serious case against Brito involves the shooting death of Mohammedreza “Sina” Zangiband, 24, of Salem, who was delivering food in Lynn when he was shot in an apparently unprovoked attack on the evening of March 27, 2017.

Later that night, Brito was in North Andover, where he raped and robbed a clerk at a Richdale store on Chickering Road — telling her he’d killed someone earlier that night.

He was arrested a short time later on Route 1 in Peabody, and when police examined the gun found in his vehicle, they were able to link it to a pair of shootings two days earlier, on March 25, in Lawrence, where two women were shot, non-fatally, in another unprovoked attack, prosecutors allege.

Brito’s attorney had sought to have each incident tried separately for, among other reasons, different defenses. His own expert could not conclude that Brito lacked criminal responsibility for the North Andover incident. 

However, that request was denied last fall. A request by prosecutors to combine the cases was allowed. 

Brito remains in custody pending trial. His attorney asked that he be brought to court in November for a final pretrial hearing.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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