BY Julie Manganis and Paul Leighton, Staff Writers
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — BEVERLY — A Maine man wanted on charges of hindering a murder prosecution in that state was found working at a carnival sponsored by the Beverly Education Foundation outside Beverly High School.
Sebastian C. Moody-Dabney, 22, described in court documents as homeless, was working on the Beverly site last Thursday for Cushing Amusements of Wilmington, which had been hired to run the fund-raising carnival.
Beverly police Sgt. David Richardson said Moody-Dabney was identified through a routine background check performed on all carnival workers passing through the city, something the city has been doing for a number of years.
Moody-Dabney was charged locally with being a fugitive from justice. He pleaded not guilty to that charge Friday during his arraignment in Salem District Court, and agreed to waive extradition to Maine.
“I just can’t wait to go back,” he told Judge Matthew Machera, as he was handed a waiver to sign. “I’m going to waive the rights and go back to Maine today.”
The Lewiston Sun Journal reported that Moody-Dabney is one of several men charged in connection with the slaying in April of a man named Romeo Parent, 20, in Lewiston. Moody-Dabney allegedly made misleading statements. Another man has been charged with causing Parent’s death.
The warrant for Moody-Dabney was issued on May 9, shortly after he was indicted on the charge of hindering apprehension or prosecution.
Larry Cushing, who runs the family-owned Cushing Amusements, said the company did a criminal background check on Moody-Dabney when he was hired in April, before police had issued a warrant for him.
“There’s no way we knew this was coming,” Cushing said. “If you do a background check and something happens in the interim, you have no control over that.”
Cushing said he had no trouble with Moody-Dabney, who operated the Dizzy Dragon ride.
“He was a very good employee, very mild-mannered,” Cushing said. “He did whatever he was asked and never complained.”
Cushing Amusements has 40 to 50 employees who travel with the company as it stages 30 to 35 carnivals per year throughout Massachusetts, Cushing said. The employees stay in trailers at the carnival site.
Cushing said the company does criminal background checks on all its employees. The checks include other states, not just Massachusetts, he said.
“We did everything we were supposed to do,” he said.
The carnival company is different from the one that operates the carnival at Gloucester’s St. Peter’s Fiesta and did so again last month. That carnival is operated by Fiesta Shows of Salisbury and Seabrook, N.H.
But Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk and Police Chief Leonard Campanello said the city followed up on background checks carried out on its workers who were planning to work in Gloucester. And the checks led to three workers were blocked from the Gloucester site.
Cushing said his family has been running carnivals since the 1930s. It has run a carnival on Devereux Beach in Marblehead for the last 40 years. This is the company’s first year in Beverly.
The carnival raises money to support the Beverly Education Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports public education in Beverly. The carnival was rained out on Thursday but was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the parking lot at Beverly High School.
Moody-Dabney also told the judge yesterday that he has a young son, and was concerned about the status of personal items that he left with the carnival, which included some family mementos “I can’t lose.”
The arrest took place shortly before 2 p.m. at 100 Sohier Road, after the warrant from Maine was found by police searching a national warrant database.
Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.