At 4.30am on 23 July 2013, Edwin Alemany, 28, launched a terrifying spree of violence across Boston, Massachusetts. Within 20 hours, one woman had been brutally murdered, two others viciously attacked. Evidence stacked up against Alemany – yet he claimed he wasn’t guilty. By reason of insanity…

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Alexandra Cruz, 22, had just left for her early- morning shift when a punch to the jaw knocked her out cold.

When she opened her eyes, Edwin Alemany was dragging her by the ankles into a dark car park.

Then he was choking her.

‘You’re going to die today,’ he spat while she pleaded for her life.

When Alemany turned his back, Alexandra fled, escaping badly bruised with a swollen jaw.

But by 6am, Edwin Alemany had set his sights on his next victim, Amy Lord, 24.

He abducted her from outside her front door as she left for the gym.

After beating Amy, he forced her into her own Jeep.

From there, he took Amy on a terrifying drive, stopping at five banks to draw $960 (around £800) from cash machines.

Afterwards, he took her to a wooded area of Boston’s Hyde Park, where he stabbed her to death.

Then he drove her car to south Boston and set it on fire.

Amy was reported missing when she failed to turn up for her marketing job.

That afternoon, a cyclist stumbled across her battered, naked body.

She’d been stabbed repeatedly in the neck, chest, torso and pelvis, her gym leggings wrapped around her leg.

Yet Edwin Alemany still wasn’t finished. Around midnight, Kayleigh Ballantyne, 21, was almost home when she spotted a man walking towards her.

Alemany.

Frantically, she entered the passcode to her apartment, but ran out of time.

Alemany knocked her to the ground, stabbing her repeatedly.

Kayleigh survived after neighbours heard screams and called police.

She was rushed to hospital suffering from multiple stab wounds and a collapsed lung.

Amy Lord

Edwin Alemanyhad slashed his own hand during the attack. And when he arrived at the same hospital where Kayleigh was being treated, he was recognised from her description and arrested.

Alemany’s violent rampage was finally over.

But his crimes had shocked the public.

The victims had been chosen at random, while Amy was forced in and out of her Jeep as other commuters were unaware of the horror she was experiencing.

Edwin Alemany was charged with a string of offences, including murder, kidnap, armed carjacking, armed robbery, assault and battery.

Yet his lawyer, Jeffrey Denner, called him a ‘deeply ill’ man with serious psychiatric problems that had largely gone untreated.

It emerged that Alemany had a long history of mental-health issues, including hallucinations, depression, and a psychological disorder.

He’d spent time in psychiatric hospitals as a teenager. But at 18, care from the state ended and he assumed responsibility for his own mental health, often not taking his meds.

CCTV footage showing Amy’s kidnap ordeal

In May 2015, Edwin Alemany went on trial at Suffolk County Superior Court.

The evidence stacked up against him. CCTV, DNA, eyewitnesses…

And the defence didn’t deny Alemany was the attacker. But he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Lawyers said Alemany planned to rely on a defence of ‘lack of criminal responsibility’ because of ‘mental disease or defect at the time of the alleged offence conduct’.

If successful, Edwin Alemany would be confined to a mental facility, undergoing yearly assessments until it was determined he wasn’t a danger to himself or others.

If not, he faced life in prison.

Opening the case, prosecution lawyer, John Pappas said the trial would be ‘nothing short of a real-life horror story’.

He said the prosecution would prove Alemany wasn’t insane.

Giving evidence, first victim Alexandra Cruz said Alemany appeared ‘calm’ during the attack.

The jury heard that, after killing Amy Lord, Alemany bought petrol to burn her car.

Then he’d bought lottery tickets, beer, and used Amy’s money to buy a new phone and pay two bills.

And, that afternoon, as Amy’s body was being discovered, Alemany went for dinner with some friends.

The jury were shown graphic pictures of Amy’s body.

Medical examiner Dr Anna McDonald said Amy had suffered more than 60 injuries. And 14 of the stab wounds could’ve been fatal on their own.

‘Mr Alemany knew exactly what he was doing,’ John Pappas said. ‘This man acted with purpose and with clarity of mind.’

But the defence disagreed.

Lawyers argued that Alemany acted with sudden and irrational savagery, and didn’t have the mental capacity to know right from wrong. Nor to control his violent impulses.

A former girlfriend testified that Alemany suffered from bouts of violence so intense, she couldn’t control him.

The jury was told about Alemany’s history of mental illness, and that he’d attempted suicide following his arrest.

Dr Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and TV personality, said Alemany’s past and severe mental problems meant he ‘could not appreciate either the wrongfulness of his conduct nor could he conform his behaviour to the requirements of the law’.

Dr Ablow said that even as a teen, Alemany heard voices telling him to kill himself or others.

‘We have conceded guilt. [But] he’s sick. You know he’s sick,’ said Alemany’s lawyer Jeffrey Denner, contesting the view of the psychiatrist witness for the prosecution.

So was Edwin Alemany evil? Or was he insane?

Edwin Alemany was convicted of first-degree murder and 15 other crimes against the three women, including kidnapping, armed carjacking, armed robbery, and assault and battery. Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano sentenced him to life without parole.

After, Amy Lord’s mother Cindy said, ‘The reality is, for us there will never truly be closure. There will always be unrelenting, unimaginable pain caused by a senseless act of violence.’