State takes down stairs where BU prof died

‘We felt it was important,’ Baker says

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION over the weekend took down and removed the rusted-out, fenced-off stairs near JFK/UMass Station on the MBTA’s Red Line in Dorchester where the body of Boston University professor David Jones was found on September 11.

Jones’s body was discovered underneath the stairs, which had been closed and barricaded since January 2020. Jones, who lived in Milton, had been out running. The removal of the stairs was first reported by the Dorchester Reporter.

A State Police spokesman said detectives have “irrefutable evidence” that Jones had been on the steep stairs even though a wire fence blocked the bottom entrance on Old Colony Avenue and a jersey barrier and chain link fence blocked the entrance on the Columbia Road overpass. The spokesman declined to say what evidence detectives had.

It’s become something of a mystery why Jones would have ventured out on the stairs, which were missing several steps.

At a State House press conference on Monday, Baker said the Department of Transportation, which added additional security to the stairs last Monday, took the entire structure down over the weekend. The governor said the state obtained the permission of the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, which is investigating Jones’s death, before taking the stairs down.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Asked if the removal of the stairs was an acknowledgement that they shouldn’t have been left there for so long, Baker said the staircase “was very well barricaded for a significant period of time.”

Pressed to explain the decision to remove the stairs, Baker said a number of steps were missing. When it was pointed out that photographs from close to a year ago indicated several steps were missing then, Baker said: “I think we felt it was important to take it down.”