Police confiscated potential murder weapon in Cranston backyard burial case

James Lombardi, 32, was arrested and charged with the murder of 29-year-old Krystal Boswell of Fall River.

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A half dozen search warrant affidavits, unsealed following several requests from Target 12, indicate police confiscated a number of hammers in a case involving a Fall River woman who police said was apparently murdered by blunt force trauma.

James Lombardi, 32, is currently held without bail in connection with the murder of Krystal Boswell, a Fall River resident who was reported missing April 1.

According to the documents, Lombardi told a neighbor “he struck the deceased with a carpenter’s hammer and then strangled her.” The filings listed several items that were seized, including a half dozen different hammers.

Cranston Police have not said whether or not any of the tools are the suspected murder weapon.

Public Information Officer Major Todd Patalano said he could not offer any details about the case.

“The case is pending prosecution,” Patalano said. “All inquiries have to go through the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office.”

The search warrants were ordered sealed for 60 days on April 10 after Lombardi’s initial appearance in court.

Investigators allege Lombardi and Boswell ended up at the home where he lives with his father at 45 Wakefield Avenue in Cranston, after they left a party in Fall River in the early morning hours of the day she seemingly disappeared.

The documents say Boswell had an existing relationship with “Jimmy” that her family knew about at the time she was reported missing.

The affidavits indicate Lombardi texted Boswell’s ex-boyfriend, writing, “She works for me now.” There is no explanation in the documents about what that might’ve meant.

A witness told police, the next day, on April 2, Lombardi was digging in the backyard of 9 Preston Avenue in Cranston, where the body was found five days later.

A neighbor said Lombardi was covered in soil and had a shovel with him, and that Lombardi told him he killed a girl from Fall River in the Wakefield Avenue basement.

Police also pointed out in the document that the neighbor told them Lombardi said “he has painted over the basement at the Wakefield home and put down a linoleum floor,” an apparent implication that he may have tried to cover up potential evidence.

Search warrants have been executed by Cranston Police for several cell phones, the Preston Avenue and Wakefield Avenue homes, and for the neighbor’s home where police “seized the shovel.”

Lombardi’s attorney Tom Briody said he would not comment on the case at this time.

Another document in Lombardi’s file indicates the state public defender’s office is not representing him due to a conflict of interest. The public defender’s officer has not returned requests for more details about that conflict.

.Walt Buteau (wbuteau@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook