The Murders of Dominic Kirmil and Irvin Hilton

He committed his first murder at 15-years old, ending the life of an innocent shopkeeper as he and his buddies made their way around Lawrence, Massachusetts holding up convenience stories “for the thrill of it”. His lawyer would later plead for mercy on the accused teenage killer, but that mercy would have unintended consequences not so far in the future. 

George Nassar is a two-time convicted killer, yes, but some people believe this man who started his crime streak as a young teen might also be responsible for some 13 or more killings around Boston in the 1960s, too. His association with the man actually accused of those crimes only deepens the suspicion. 

These are the stories of Dominic Kirmil and Irvin Hilton and the crimes of George Nassar. Press play for the full episode wherever you get your podcasts.

Murder of Dominic Kirmil

Mrs. Victoria Borijsek didn’t have time for the three young hooligans who came into her grocery store, one wielding a pistol. “This is a stick up!” they barked. They’d startled her, yes, and she’d screamed in response, but one look at the trio left her doubting they were serious about the threats they cast her way. After the initial shock, Victoria regained her wits. Thinking it was all just a prank, she grabbed a broom and chased the boys out to the street. 

Just 20 minutes later, a second stick up in the same part of town had a much different result.

It was 8 p.m. on April 15, 1948 and 62-year old Dominic Kirmil was working alone at his shop at 99 Park Street in Lawrence, Massachusetts when three boys came in and ordered a few sodas. They looked to be about 18 and 20-years old and one was wearing a trench coat. A bit overdressed in the mid-April weather but not terribly unusual. 

Dominic was an immigrant, born in Lithuania in 1886. Though the pieces of Dominic’s story are all but lost in the news coverage of his death, I found one entry on a genealogy database that revealed a few small details about him. He and his wife Mary had four children – two boys and two girls. Dominic’s family lived in the apartment above his shop. Some sources refer to the store as a butcher or meat shop, but you could get other items there, too, like sodas, as the boys had ordered.

As Dominic made his way back to the icebox and collected the Coke bottles, popping the caps and letting them land with a metallic tink-tink on the counter. As he returned to the three boys, something was different about the energy inside the shop. He first noticed the boy in the trench coat with his arm extended, a revolver in one hand pointed squarely at the shopkeeper. 

The boy shouted at Dominic: “Throw the cokes out, this is a stick up.” Dominic half-listened to the boy’s instructions, crashing a glass bottle down on top of his head. The boy staggered, but did not retreat. Instead, he opened fire on Dominic, landing several bullets into his body before fleeing the shop. They didn’t even attempt to take any money from the register. 

According to the Boston Globe, Dominic clung to life on the floor of his shop, enough to ring a bell that connected to his apartment directly above the shop where his wife and daughter were at home. Before his family could respond though, two different boys entered the store to find Dominic leaning against the icebox. He begged them to get help, and the pair ran off in search of a phone to call police. The closest was almost a mile away.

Emergency responders transported a still-conscious Dominic Kirmil to the hospital. He was losing a lot of blood and had bullets lodged in his thumb, elbow, and chest. Despite his condition, Dominic had enough time left to tell police what happened and describe two of his assailants. Dominic said that one was around 19-years old, 5 foot 5 inches tall, 140 pounds and had a dark complexion. The other was older, Dominic estimated maybe 21-years old, with fair skin. He wore a trench coat. 

Dominic Kirmil succumbed to his injuries several hours later. The investigation into the eldery shopkeeper’s murder began in earnest the next day.

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