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Dominatrix changed her story, prosecutor charges; Ex-Quincy woman pleads innocent to manslaughter


Barbara McLaughlin Asher, a dominatrix, pleaded innocent Friday to charges of manslaughter and illegal disposal of a body in the death of Michael Lord. (Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger)

By DENNIS TATZ
The Patriot Ledger

DEDHAM - A Quincy dominatrix gave conflicting statements to police about where she and her boyfriend dumped the dismembered remains of one of her clients after he died of an apparent heart attack, a prosecutor said Friday.

A Norfolk County grand jury earlier this month handed up a secret indictment charging Barbara McLaughlin Asher and Miguel Ferrer in connection with the death of Michael Lord, 53, of North Hampton, N.H., nearly 2½ years ago.

Asher, 53, who now lives in Rhode Island, pleaded innocent Friday in Norfolk Superior Court to involuntary manslaughter and unlawful disposal of a human body.

Prosecutor Robert Nelson said Ferrer has agreed to return next month from Argentina, where he has family, to face a charge of being an accessory after the fact of manslaughter.

Nelson said Asher first told police investigating Lord's disappearance that his body parts had been put into rubbish bags and left to be burned in an incinerator in Salem, N.H.

The prosecutor said Asher later changed her story and said the remains were put into a Dumpster outside a Chinese restaurant in Augusta, Maine, after New Hampshire authorities told her that Salem does not have an incinerator for its trash.

Massachusetts and Maine state police made an exhaustive search of an Augusta landfill, but never found a trace of Lord.

The indictments of Asher and Ferrer came after Quincy District Court Judge Mark Coven made recommendations following an inquest in September. The prosecutor used the findings, which are still sealed, to help indict the pair.

Nelson said Asher told police that Lord paid her $300 in cash for a sadomasochistic session in a Wollaston condominium she had rented and called the ‘‘dungeon.''

The retired telephone lineman had used her services a year earlier after contacting Asher though her web site, according to the prosecutor.

Nelson said a collar was put around Lord's neck, a hood was placed over his head and he was strapped to a wooden beam device with both his hands secured and his feet spread.

Asher, who was called ‘‘Mistress Lauren'' by clients, was changing into her dominatix outfit when she heard Lord struggling, the prosecutor said.

‘‘There was a gasp and the victim's head fell forward,'' Nelson said.

He said Asher contacted Ferrer, who arrived a short time later, and attempted to revive Lord through cardiopulmonary resuscitation after removing him from the restraints.

The prosecutor said Lord did not have a history of heart problems.

Asher, who lived in a condominium at 100 Marina Drive, returned to her home with Ferrer, and the two spent the next day deciding what to do, according to the prosecutor.

‘‘She was afraid that the IRS and Quincy police would find out about her business,'' said Nelson.

The prosecutor said on July 4, 2000, the day after Lord died, Ferrer put Lord's 6-foot, 4-inch, 280-pound body in the bathtub of Asher's rented condominium at 10 Weston Ave.

He said Asher went to the nearby Victory Market and bought plastic bags and cleaning materials. After she returned, Ferrer used a hacksaw to slice up Lord's body, he said.

Ferrer put the body parts into eight plastic bags, the prosecutor said.

Nelson said police never recovered the hacksaw and weren't able to find any evidence at the scene.

An investigation began after one of Lord's sons reported him missing.

Salem, N.H., police recovered Lord's Ford Mustang several days later.

Investigators used telephone records to trace Lord's whereabouts to Asher's condominium.

Family members and friends told police that Lord, a skilled woodworker, had sold wooden paddles to Asher and was not a client.

Asher's attorney, Kevin Reddington, declined comment Friday.

Reddington has said that he does not believe prosecutors have a case, and he expects the charges to be dismissed.

Lord's two sons and daughter attended the inquest, but were not in the courtroom for Asher's arraignment.

If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Asher faces up to 20 years in state prison. The illegal disposal of a body carries a maximum six-month jail sentence.

Ferrer could be ordered to serve a sentence of up to seven years in prison if convicted as an accessory.

Judge Peter Agnes released Asher on personal recognizance and ordered her to return to court for a pretrial conference Jan. 15.

The prosecutor did not ask for bail for Asher, who has no criminal record.

Dennis Tatz may be reached at dtatz@ledger.com.

Copyright 2002 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Saturday, November 30, 2002




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