Hiding Out On B Street: Feds Nab Belmont Man Wanted For Murdering His Wife 27 Years Ago

Photo: Colombian homicide fugitive Acosta following arrest on April 13 by ERO Boston officers near Belmont, Massachusetts. Photo by ICE ERO Boston.

It’s a story straight out of a true crime podcast. A man with a murderous secret was living a quiet suburban life on a dead end street. But it was his wish to be just like most of his neighbors that opened the door to his downfall.

That suburban byway is B Street near Waverley Square and adjacent to Belmont’s Town Yard, and the man who lived for nearly a quarter century with his family in a small condo at the end of the street was Carlos Alberto Rendon.

But Rendon was the alias he hid behind as he attempted to escape from justice … that is until early Wednesday morning, April 13, when special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested William Hernando Usma Acosta for the 1994 murder of his wife, Laura Rose Agudelo, and the attempted murder of her daughter in Medellin, Columbia.

“Acosta is a convicted cold-blooded killer who thought he could evade justice by entering the United States and creating a new identity for himself so he could live under the radar. He needs to face justice for what he did, and today’s arrest ensures that he will,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division.

U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE), Boston

On November 14, 1996, a court in Medellin sentenced Acosta to 45 years in prison for aggravated murder of his wife during a domestic assault, aggravated attempted murder, and illegal possession of a firearm. That sentence was later reduced to 28 years and six months based on new sentencing guidelines. Colombia subsequently issued an international arrest warrant for Usma Acosta to serve his sentence.

According to immigration records, Acosta, who was then going by his newly-assumed identity of Carlos Alberto Rendon, arrived in the United States illegally in 1995 when he crossed the Mexican border. In 1998, he married an American citizen and obtained lawful, permanent resident status while living in Somerville. Since that time, Rendon moved to Belmont with his wife and son into a small condo at the edge of the DPW Yard and lived a very quiet life away from all scrutiny.

But in 2020, Acosta decided to become an American and submitted his application for naturalization to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services which began the unraveling of his true identity. As part of that application, Acosta submitted a Colombian birth certificate and fingerprints. The FBI compared his fingerprints against those provided by the Colombian National Police and determined they were an exact match with the murderer Acosta. Investigators also determined the Colombian birth certificate that Rendon/Acosta submitted was fraudulent.

In June 2020, special agents with the FBI Boston Division’s Violent Crimes Task Force received information that Usma Acosta may be residing in the greater Boston area. The FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force tracked Usma Acosta’s whereabouts to his home in Belmont and he was arrested without incident as he was heading to work in Waltham. 

Proceedings to remove Acosta from the United States for violating the conditions of his legal permanent residency status will be commenced by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement which will transfer him to Colombian law enforcement authorities who issued the warrant for his arrest.  

“Today’s arrest has ensured that this dangerous and convicted killer will face justice for his crimes,” said Todd M. Lyons, Field Office Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE), Boston. “Acosta will no longer pose a threat to the residents of the Commonwealth thanks to the tireless efforts of an outstanding team of law enforcement professionals in both the United States and Colombia.” 

Upland Road Rage Charges Upped To Murder As Select Board Calls Special Public Forum For Wednesday

Photo: Participants in the rally to remember Henry Tapia.

The Belmont Select Board will be hosting a special community forum on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. to discuss the death of Henry Tapia who was killed in an alleged road rage incident a week ago on Upland Road.

On Monday, Jan. 25, at Cambridge District Court, the assailant, Dean Kapsalis, saw an additional charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death added to his existing charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and a civil rights violation.

He was ordered held without bail with his next court appearance on March 1.

Nearly 200 residents and citizens joined Tapia’s friends and family for a rally to celebrate Tapia’s life on Thursday, Jan. 21 in Cushing Square. Kim Haley-Jackson, vice chair of the Belmont Human Rights Commission, Belmont Police Chief James MacIsaac, Middlesex DA and Belmont resident Marion Ryan, Select Board’s Adam Dash, State Rep. Rogers, State Sen. Will Brownsberger each spoke to the impact of a race-based killing in a town that at times seems, as one attendee said, “devoid in discussing” the racial issues affecting the country.

“What I want to say to everyone is: Yes, Belmont. You too,” said Haley-Jackson.

“What I want to ask from my town is to think about your everyday actions. You think about your neighbors who don’t look like you. We are a community and not everyone is the same. We don’t all have the same belief system, we don’t all live the same lives but we all live together,” she said.

An agenda has not been published for the community forum. People can attend by going to the Zoom site: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82245770498?pwd=Smt2a3llQUp0OXRQMzhodTJxWFIvdz09 Meeting ID: 822 4577 0498

Tapia’s friends created a GoFundMe page to help his partner, Courtney Morton, and his three children. It has raised $152,800 as of Wednesday morning.

Tapia, a Black/Latino Boston resident living with his partner in Belmont, was killed when Kapsalis, a 54-year-old from Hudson who was living with his girlfriend on Upland Road, hit and dragged the victim after the pair squared off during what is alleged to have been a road rage incident sometime after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

In court Monday, prosecutors from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office said witnesses heard as well as an alarm system recorded as Kapsalis “yelled racial slurs” at Tapia during the confrontation.

“There was a Ring doorbell near the scene of this incident, and it captured the audio of the interaction between the victim and the defendant,” said prosecutor Nicole Allain.

“The defendant can be heard calling the victim a series of derogatory terms, which culminated in his use of the N-word. Seconds later, that’s when the vehicle accelerates. A loud ‘thud’ noise can be heard, and the defendant’s red truck can be seen on video driving [away from] the scene,” said Allain.

MacIsaac’s said the first responding officers found Tapia conscious but in distress, reportedly saying “I can’t breathe.” Tapia was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he died soon after arriving.

“My officers were shocked to hear that he had died,” said MacIsaac. “It has effected the department.”

Murder Suspect from Belmont Surrenders to Law Enforcement

Olmsted Drive’s Domingo Mendes, who faces a murder charge for killing a popular Waltham High School student on March 20, surrendered to Waltham Police on Thursday, April 17, according to a press release from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Waltham Police Chief Keith MacPherson.

Mendes, 22, accompanied by his attorney, turned himself in on an outstanding warrant for murder, possession of a firearm, and conspiracy to violate the drug laws.

He is expected to be arraigned Friday, April 18, in Waltham District Court.

Authorities had previously arrested Taylor Poulin, 21, of Newton, in connection with the shooting.

According to court papers, Mendes is charged with killing Tyler Zanco, a Waltham High senior and wrestling captain, was shot shortly after 10 p.m. in the Gardencrest Apartments parking lot on Middlesex Circle in Waltham during a confrontation in the midst of a drug exchange.