A prosecutor today said a 26-year-old South Boston man went to buy heroin after he allegedly killed a 67-year-old woman in her Southie home.
Timothy Kostka pleaded not guilty to murder and home invasion charges during his arraignment in South Boston District Court this afternoon. He was ordered held without bail.
A prosecutor said Kostka and the family of the victim, Barbara Coyne, knew one another.
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Coyne's son lived at his mother's East Seventh Street home and prosecutors said Kostka was aware that he kept valuable fishing equipment at the home.
On April 16, prosecutors said, Kostka "slipped" into the home and encountered Coyne. He allegedly slit her throat with a butcher knife during the attack, rifled through the home and fled "leaving her bloody and dying," said Assistant District Attorney Ursula Knight.
Prosecutors said Kostka expected Coyne's son to be out running that day, but he was not. He returned to the home to find his mother bleeding. She gave a clothing description of the person who attacked her.
Knight said detectives were able to obtain fingerprints from a jewelry box and an envelope near some scattered about lottery tickets in the ransacked home. They also obtained video surveillance of him at a nearby convenience store cashing in a lottery ticket moments after the attack.
Knight also said investigators have witness statements that claim Kostka went to buy heroin after the attack and changed clothes.
Some family members of both Kostka and Coyne held their heads in their hands and cried as they listened to Knight's summary of the attack.
Family members and friends of both sides declined to talk to reporters as they left court today.
Kostka's attorney, William Gens, said his client is a trained electrician who graduated high school and has strong ties to the South Boston neighborhood.
Gens said some of the prosecution’s evidence is weak and that Kostka is "stunned" by what has happened.
"Standing alone a finger print is weak evidence," Gens said, "especially when you have people that know one another."
Kostka, who has a fraternal twin brother, is implicated in a November break-in in South Boston, but he has never been convicted of a crime, Gens said.
Coyne's family thanked police and prosecutors for their work to make the arrest in a statement released Sunday.
"Barbara Coyne was a beautiful, compassionate, loving wife, mother,
grandmother, sister, aunt and friend who will be sorely missed but never
forgotten," her family said in a statement.
The murder of an elderly woman inside her home rattled the neighborhood and caused police to increase patrols in the area.