Metro

Veteran prosecutor of high-profile cases named interim Suffolk DA

John Pappas will be interim district attorney until January, when the winner of the election takes office.
Pool photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File 2017
John Pappas will be interim district attorney until January, when the winner of the election takes office.

John Pappas, a veteran prosecutor known for trying the man who killed Amy Lord and the defendants who stabbed Boston Celtics great Paul Pierce, was named Tuesday as the interim Suffolk district attorney.

Pappas, 54, will serve out the remainder of Daniel F. Conley’s term, which runs until January. Conley is stepping down to work as special counsel at Mintz Levin, a Boston law firm.

“Pappas has been recognized by his colleagues and district attorneys across the state for his professionalism, leadership and decency, and I am confident that he will provide the stability needed to steward this office and its critically important work through this transition,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement announcing Pappas’s appointment. Baker chose Pappas from a list of prosecutors recommended by Conley.

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A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst who attended night classes at New England School of Law, Pappas has worked as a Suffolk prosecutor since 1994. He was promoted to chief trial counsel in 2011.

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“Governor Baker has made an outstanding selection,” Conley said in a statement. “As chief trial counsel, he is highly respected by our staff, the bench, and the defense bar. And as an assistant district attorney assigned to some of Boston’s most serious violent crimes, he embraces our mission to speak for victims and pursue the interests of justice, in and out of the courtroom.”

In a statement, Pappas said he was honored to be selected and was “indebted to the individuals, families, and communities who have taught me so much in my years as a prosecutor.”

“Our work together will continue seamlessly in the weeks and months to come,” he said.

Conley announced in February that he would not run again for district attorney, setting off a five-candidate Democratic primary. Earlier this month, Rachael Rollins emerged as the Democratic nominee. She will face independent candidate Michael Maloney, a Brockton defense attorney, in November. The winner will take office in January.

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A lifelong resident of Boston, Pappas, who lives in West Roxbury, is the son of Greek immigrants who worked as a law clerk by day and went to school at night to get his law degree.

His most notable cases include the 2015 conviction of Edwin Alemany, who kidnapped and killed Amy Lord, a young South Boston woman, and the 2002 conviction of two men who stabbed Pierce 11 times in a Boston nightclub.

Pappas is the lead prosecutor in the case against Bampumim Teixeira, who allegedly killed two doctors in their South Boston apartment in July 2017. That trial is expected to begin in February.

“I’m deeply grateful to Governor Baker for the opportunity to continue the legacy of innovation, excellence and service that district attorney Conley has built over the past 16 years,” Pappas said.

Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @globemcramer.