August 2010 Archives

August 31, 2010

Methuen Man Charged with OUI and Reckless Driving


Steven S. Kurelko, 35, of Methuen, Massachusetts, was arrested this past weekend by the Massachusetts State Police for Drunk Driving after crashing his car into another that left two women seriously injured.

Kurelko was allegedly driving eastbound on 213 in Methuen when he struck another car sometime around 9 p.m. That other car was occupied by two women, both of Chelmsford, which were flown to Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston with serious injuries.

Very few details surrounding the crash were released, but Massachusetts State Police did report that one of the vehicles rolled over and emergency personnel had to free one of the victims, who was trapped inside the car.

Kurelko was arraigned yesterday morning on Operating Under the Influence of Liquor (OUI), Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and Speeding.

OUI/DUI Drunk Driving in Massachusetts:
Criminal charges for drunk driving are taken very seriously in Massachusetts, and prosecuted very aggressively by every District Attorney's Office.

Although Drunk Driving charges are fairly common and one of those crimes often committed by persons with no prior criminal record or involvement with police, the consequences of an OUI/DUI conviction can be devastating. Not only do OUI/DUI charges carry a potential term of imprisonment, but they also carry significant penalties that may include license suspension, fines, probation, counseling, drug/alcohol treatment, and community service. Click here for Massachusetts Drunk Driving Penalties.

The strength of your OUI/DUI defense depends on a number of factors, but in most cases the prosecutors relies upon the police officer's observations of the means and manner you allegedly operated your vehicle. In drunk driving cases, the police will try to establish evidence that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired to some degree by alcohol or drugs.

Additional factors in your OUI/DUI case may include whether you were involved in an accident; if there was evidence of alcohol consumption in the car, such as an open container; whether you submitted to a Breathalyzer or Refused the Breathalyzer; or how well or poorly you performed in any Field Sobriety Tests.

Continue reading "Methuen Man Charged with OUI and Reckless Driving" »

August 30, 2010

MBTA Police Arrest Boston & Quincy Men for Subway Sex Offenses


Daniel Rhoades, 24 and a homeless man from Quincy, and Alexander Zerchykov, 51 of Boston, were both arrested this past weekend in separate cases involving Sex Crimes on the MBTA.

Rhoades was arraigned this morning in the Boston Municipal Court on Sex Crimes charges including Open and Gross Lewdness. He is alleged to have exposed himself to women on the Red Line on two separate days, August 16 and then against on August 17.

Zerchykov was also charged with Indecent Assault & Battery. He is accused of fondling a woman as she was getting off a Green Line train at Boston's Fenway station on June 13.

According to the MBTA Transit Police, this year alone, they have made 18 arrests for the crime of Indecent Assault & Battery; and 24 arrests for the crimes of Open and Gross Lewdness.

Indecent Assault & Battery:
The crime of Indecent Assault & Battery is essentially an Assault & Battery, but where the unlawful touching involves an 'indecent act.'

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 13H punishes the crime of Indecent Assault & Battery by imprisonment in the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years, or to state prison for up to 5 years.

Indecent Assault & Battery, like most Sex Crimes, is an extremely serious allegations, and the penalties, beyond possible imprisonment, can be life altering. A conviction for this crime will most likely subject the offender to Sex Offender Registration; require him/her to submit a DNA sample to the state's DNA database to be compared to past and future unsolved crimes. A conviction for Indecent Assault & Battery could also result in a term of Community Parole Supervision for life to be imposed; and may also serve as a predicate sexual offense for civil commitment as a "sexually dangerous person."

Open & Gross Lewdness:
The crime of Open & Gross Lewdness is defined as the intentional, indecent and offensive exposure of one's genitals to another person.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 16, punishes the crime of Open & Gross Lewdness with imprisonment in the House of Corrections for up to 2 years; or to State Prison for up to 3 years.

Although a first time offender will not be subject to Sex Offender Registration if conviction, a second or subsequent conviction for Open & Gross Lewdness will subject the offender to Sex Offender Registration.

Continue reading "MBTA Police Arrest Boston & Quincy Men for Subway Sex Offenses" »

August 29, 2010

Cambridge Man Turns Himself In to Answer Medford Murder Charges


medford murder.jpgAccording to the Medford Police Department, Christopher Toppi, 28, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, turned himself into police last night in connection with an apparent homicide in Medford. The victim, Brian Fahy, of Weymouth, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shortly after the Medford Police Department had sought a warrant for Christopher Toppi on the charge of Murder, Toppi turned himself in. He is being held at this time pending his arraignment in Somerville District Court for Murder.

The Massachusetts State Police and the Medford Police Departments, which are leading this investigation, have not released any details regarding the incident, other than to say that they did not believe it to be random; that Toppi and Fahy were known to each other; and that the death appears to have resulted from a confrontation.

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August 23, 2010

Brockton Woman Gets Murder Conviction Reversed by Massachusetts Supreme Court


Sheila Barry, of Brockton, Massachusetts, was convicted in 2006 in Plymouth Superior Court for the Murder of Admilson Goncalves. Today, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reversed her conviction, citing she was mentally ill when she committed the assault.

At her Murder trial, Plymouth County prosecutors alleged that Barry attacked Goncalves with a cinder block as he sat in his bicycle in Brockton in 2002 and that she continued to beat and assault him with the brick until it shattered.

In reversing her Murder conviction, the Massachusetts Supreme Court concluded that the legal rules regarding a defendant claiming an Insanity Defense need to be changed. Prior to this decision, a defendant who voluntarily consumed alcohol could not then claim the Defendant of Lack of Responsibility, or more commonly known as the Insanity Defense.

At her trial, Barry's defense team called 5 mental health experts who testified that she was bipolar and likely also suffered from schizoaffective disorder, which sometimes leads to delusional thoughts. At one point, for example, Barry claimed that Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center on her behalf.

In changing the status of the law, the Massachusetts Supreme Court concluded that the legal rules precluding a defending from claiming an Insanity Defense if he/she voluntarily consumes alcohol need to be changed. As a result of this decision, the Supreme Court contemplated the law to allow juries to consider whether a defendant's voluntary consumption of alcohol activates, intensifies or otherwise has any affect on the person's mental illness.

Insanity Defense or Lack of Criminal Responsibility:
Under the law in Massachusetts, a person is not guilty of a crime if he lacked the 'criminal responsibility' when he committed the crime. By definition, a person is lacking in criminal responsibility if he suffers from a mental disease or defect, and as a result, either he is substantially unable to appreciate the criminality or wrongfulness of his conduct, or he is substantially unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.

When the Defense of Lack of Criminal Responsibility (Insanity Defense) is raised, the burden is not on the defendant to prove any lack of criminal responsibility. Rather, the prosecutor must then prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the offense charged and that he was sane when he did so.

If the prosecutor persuades the jury that the defendant committed the crime charged and did not have a mental disease or defect when he committed the crime, then the jury could find that the defendant was criminally responsible.

If, however, the jurors have a reasonable doubt whether the defendant had a mental disease or defect, then in order to find him criminal responsible, the prosecutor must prove that, despite any mental disease or defect, the defendant nevertheless possessed substantial capacity both to appreciate the criminality or wrongfulness of his conduct and was able to conform his conduct to the law.

Continue reading "Brockton Woman Gets Murder Conviction Reversed by Massachusetts Supreme Court" »

August 20, 2010

Gang Sweep Nets 47 Arrests in Boston & New England


A 3-month long investigation involving 20 different law enforcement agencies came to fruition today when police announced that 47 purported gang members were arrested.

Leading the investigation was the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") which led all law enforcement agencies. Of the 47 persons arrested, 23 face deportation and 28 were reportedly reputed gang members belonging to various gangs, including the Bloods, Latin Kings, and MS-13.

Law enforcement officials made this announcement today as they proudly advertised that many of those apprehended had been involved in what they describe as "violent crimes", specifically Attempted Murder and Assault to Commit Rape. Notably, despite their having been labeled as gang members, none of the men apprehended were characterized as convicted felons, or having actually been convicted of the crimes of Attempted Murder and Assault to Commit Rape.

These 'sweeps' as they're often characterized, are becoming increasingly more common. Not only are law enforcement officials tending to engage in more sweeps to capture those known to have outstanding warrants, but I have seen an increase in the instances where ICE actively pursues persons for the purpose of initiating deportation proceedings.

Not too long ago, a non-U.S. Citizen almost never had to worry about being deported, even if convicted of a crime, unless he was held in custody. Immigration officials might often scan the custody list and issue detainers for those who were convicted of serious crimes. Recently, however, I have seen a dramatic increase in the instances where Immigration/ICE officials will actually appear at a person's arraignment in court and issue an Order of Detention before the person even has a chance to post bail.

Those who are not United States citizens and who have been charged with a crime should be particularly careful and cautious as to how their criminal case is resolved. In order to protect your rights and avoid any possibility of deportation as a result of a criminal conviction, it is particularly important to have an attorney who knows the possible immigration and deportation consequences a criminal conviction might have.

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August 18, 2010

Suspect Arrested in Lawrence for Indecent Assault & Battery on Minor in Boston


Jonathan P. Santos, 22, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was arrested earlier today in Lawrence - he had been under investigation and wanted for an Indecent Assault & Battery.

The Boston Police Department reported that Santos was arrested this afternoon and formally charged with Indecent Assault & Battery; Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon, Armed Robbery, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and Possession with Intent to Distribute Class B Drugs.

Indecent Assault & Battery:
The crimes of Indecent Assault & Battery is really just an Assault & Battery but where the unlawful touching involves an 'indecent act.' According to Massachusetts law, an 'indecent act' is one that is offensive to contemporary standards of decency and most often involving the touching of part of the body considered private.

The crime of Indecent Assault & Battery is punishable by imprisonment for up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections, or for up to 5 years in state prison.

Indecent Assault & Battery is an extremely serious criminal charge, as a conviction will render the defendant to Sex Offender Registration; require him/her to submit a DNA sample to the Massachusetts DNA Database to be compared with other crimes; could result in a term of Community Parole Supervision for life being imposed; and may also serve as a predicate sexual offense for civil commitment as aSexually Dangerous Person.'

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August 16, 2010

Boston Pub Brawl Leads to Manslaughter Charge for South Boston Man


Hector Guardiola, 25, of South Boston, Massachusetts, was arraigned today in Roxbury District Court on charges of Manslaughter and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon in connection with an incident at a Lansdowne Street pub that resulted in the death of Michael DiMaria.

DiMaria, who lived in New York, was in Boston visiting with old friends from college and the group went to a pub on Lansdowne Street to spend some time together.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, prosecutors allege that a trivial argument broke out at the pub because one of the men in DiMaria's group accidentally brushed against Guardiola as he was going to the bathroom. An argument allegedly ensued and DiMaria's friend walked back to the table. At that point, Guardiola allegedly threw a beer mug, which shattered after hitting something and shards of sharp glass struck DiMaria, cutting his jugular vein.

Following his Arraignment on Manslaughter and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapons Charges, Guadiola was held on $75,000 cash bail.

Manslaughter:
Both the crimes of Murder and Manslaughter require proof of an unlawful killing, but the killing may be Manslaughter if it occurred under mitigating circumstances, i.e., if there is no evidence of malice.

In Massachusetts, Manslaughter is defined as the intentional unlawful killing of another, and in order to be convicted of Manslaughter, the prosecutor must prove:

  1. The defendant intentionally inflicted injuries likely to cause death upon the deceased that caused death; and

  2. The defendant acted unlawfully.

Continue reading "Boston Pub Brawl Leads to Manslaughter Charge for South Boston Man" »

August 15, 2010

Phillip Markoff, Alleged Craigslist Killer, Found Dead from Apparent Suicide in Jail Cell


Philip-Markoff-006.jpgPhillip Markoff, dubbed the "Craigslist Killer" by the media who was held without bail pending his Murder trial, was found dead at the Suffolk County Jail on Nashua Street yesterday morning from what appears to have been a suicide.

According to sources from the Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County Sherriff's Department, Markoff was found alone in his cell with a plastic bag tied over his head. One other source also stated that Markoff had also cut one of his arteries.

Markoff charged with the April 2009 Murder of Julissa Brisman, whom he allegedly met at the Marriott Copley Hotel in Boston after locating her on a Craigslist ad. The Boston Police Department and Suffolk County Prosecutors alleged that Markoff struggled with her in the hotel room before shooting her 3 times in the chest.

Notably, Markoff was also charged with attacking 2 other women whom he also allegedly met through Craigslist. In those incidents, the women were not injured, but Markoff was also charged with Armed Robbery and Kidnapping.

At the time of his arrest, Markoff was a Boston University Medical Student who resided in Quincy. He was engaged at the time, and when police stopped him on I-95 in Walpole, he told police he was headed to Foxwoods with his fiancee, Megan McAllister, who was also in the car with him. Markoff was taken into custody that evening and arraigned the following day on Murder and Armed Robbery Charges.

Continue reading "Phillip Markoff, Alleged Craigslist Killer, Found Dead from Apparent Suicide in Jail Cell" »

August 14, 2010

Brockton Man Acquitted of Murder after Massachusetts Supreme Court Overturns First Murder Conviction


After 7 years, Jesus Silva Santiago walked out of court a free man, a second jury acquitting him of Murder in connection with the shooting death of Eugene Monteiro, 25, of Boston, Massachusetts.

The Murder allegations stemmed from an incident at Mike's Lounge in Brockton. The Plymouth County District Attorney alleged that Santiago called the victim a racial slur as he and his friends headed into the bar, saying they weren't allowed in the club. As the victim and his friends left the bar because one was underage, they passed Santiago again and he allegedly shot the victim in the chest. The Plymouth County District Attorney's Office alleged that Santiago went into the bar after the shooting because there was no other place to hide as the police were on their way.

Santiago, 35, was in custody since 2003. At his first trial in 2006, he was convicted of Murder, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned the conviction and automatic life sentence and ordered a new trial. At this second trial, a jury consisting of 4 men and 8 women deliberated 8 hours and finally acquitted him this past Thursday.

After his first trial where a jury convicted him of Murder, Santiago appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Court, claiming that the trial court committed error by denying his pre-trial Motion to Suppress Photographic Identifications. He also claimed additional errors by the trial judge, specifically, that the judge impermissibly refused his attorneys to show evidence pertaining to an inadequate police investigation.

Although the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the pre-trial order denying his Motion to Suppress Photographic Identifications, the Supreme Court did find error with regards to denying Santiago the opportunity to admit evidence concerning an inadequate police investigation.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Cautions Against Wrongful Convictions:
Despite having what is considered to be the premier judicial system in the world, our system of justice is not without its flaws. A wrongful conviction can occur in a number of way, the most common being Mistaken Identifications and police misconduct.

Since 1989, the Innocence Project has found that there have been 258 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States - 192 since the year 2000 alone. Most pointedly, 17 of the 258 exonerations have been people who were serving time on Death Row in various states.

According to statistics, 75% of DNA exonerations have involved mistaken eyewitness identifications. Of one of the least known mistaken identity cases involved United States President Abraham Lincoln who used the defense of mistaken identification to defend William "Duff" Armstrong in 1858. President Lincoln used a farmer's almanac to prove that a witness could not have seen Armstrong in the moonlight, as the position of the moon that night could not have provided sufficient illumination - his client was acquitted.
threelookalikes.gifCase in point, in the picture above, witnesses mistakenly identified the men on the right and left as the person responsible for rapes. The actual perpetrator of the crime, however, was the man in the middle.

Continue reading "Brockton Man Acquitted of Murder after Massachusetts Supreme Court Overturns First Murder Conviction" »

August 13, 2010

Boston Man Charged with Armed Robbery for Robbing Craigslist Escort at Gun Point


images.jpgLuther M. Henderson, 35, of Brockton, Massachusetts, was arraigned earlier this month on Armed Robbery and Kidnapping Charges for allegedly meeting and then robbing a Craigslist escort at gunpoint.

According to the Brockton Police Department and Plymouth County District Attorney's Office, Henderson arranged to meet a female escort he found through a Craigslist ad. After meeting at a predetermined location, which ended up being a vacant house, Henderson then allegedly showed a gun, asked the woman to strip, and bound her using zip-cuffs. Henderson then allegedly got into the woman's car and stole her money, purse, cellphone and laptop.

Henderson was arraigned in Brockton District Court on charges of Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and Witness Intimidation.

Armed Robbery:
The crime of Armed Robbery in Massachusetts is punishable to state prison for any term of years up to life. In order to be convicted of the crime of Armed Robbery, the prosecutor would have to prove:

  1. That the defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon;

  2. He either applied actual force and violence to the body of the victim, or put the victim in fear by threatening words or gestures;

  3. He took the money other property with the intent to steal it; and

  4. The property was taken from the person or immediate control of the victim.
Kidnapping:
The crime of Kidnapping is the unlawful and forcible confinement of another person against his or her will. In Massachusetts, the crime of Kidnapping is punishable with commitment to state prison for any term of years up to 10 years in state prison. If the crime of Kidnapping is committed while armed with a firearm, however, the penalty is increase from any term of years up to life.

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August 12, 2010

East Boston Man Arrested for Chelsea Murder


Jonathan Carvalho, 20, of East Boston, Massachusetts, was arrested in a warrant in Georgia for the Murder of a Chelsea man this past Tuesday.

According to Boston prosecutors, Carvalho allegedly approached Luis Raul Rodriguez on Central Avenue in Chelsea this past Tuesday and shot him in the chest multiple times. Currently in George, Carvalho will face rendition proceedings to bring him back to Massachusetts to be arraigned on Murder Charges in Chelsea District Court.

According to the Chelsea Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, no motive has been released to the public, but that the Murder does not appear to be a random act of violence.

Massachusetts Murder Charges:
In Massachusetts, Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another with malice or in the commission or attempted commission of certain felonies. A breakdown of the various degrees includes:

Continue reading "East Boston Man Arrested for Chelsea Murder" »

August 10, 2010

Lynn Man is Second Person Charged with the Murder of Jaewon Martin in Boston


Ramon Silvelo-Miles, 20, of Lynn, Massachusetts, was arraigned in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court yesterday as the second person charged for the Murder of Jaewon Martin on May 8 at the Bromley Heath Housing Development on the Jamaica Plain - Roxbury line. He was held without bail on charges of Murder, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

The Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office allege that Silvelo-Mile adn Timothy Hearns (of Dorchester) went to the Bromley Heath Development in Roxbury for the specific purpose of shooting a rival gang member. As Silvelo-Miles waited in the car, Hearns is alleged to have gone to the steps of the development and began firing. Hearns allegedly fired two shots at Martin, one of which struck him in the chest; and then shooting at Martin's 15 year-old friend in the chest and arm.

Following the shooting, Silvelo-Miles allegedly bragged about his involvement in the shooting, and certain witnesses apparently came forward with that information to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. As a result, Boston Police Homicide Detectives interviewed Silvelo-Miles but he claimed an alibi, which the Boston Police reports was found to be false.

Suffolk County prosecutors in Boston allege that Silvelo-Miles and Hearns belonged to the gang H-Block from Roxbury. The H-Block gang reportedly has a long history of feuding with the Heath Street Gang, many of whose members are believed to be from the area around the Bromley Heath Development.

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August 9, 2010

Former Head of Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Busted for Drunk Driving in Harverhill


Matthew Amorello, former State Senator and Chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, was arrested late Saturday evening and was scheduled to be arraigned this morning on DUI / OUI Charges and Leaving the Scene of Property Damage.

According to the Haverhill Police Department, Amorello was reportedly driving drunk and collided with several parked vehicles in Haverhill. He further did not immediately pull over, which led to the additional charge of Leaving the Scene of Property Damage. His vehicle was located at a nearby car dealership with a wheel missing and Amorello inside the car alone. It is not believed that Amorello submitted to any Field Sobriety Tests or a Alcohol Breath Test.

OUI/DUI - Drunk Driving Charges:
Although OUI/DUI charges are fairly common, the consequences of a drunk driving conviction can be life-altering. Not only can a DUI conviction carry a potential term of imprisonment, but it can also carry significant penalties that may include license suspension, fines, probation, counseling, drug/alcohol treatment, and community service.

Click here for more information about Drunk Driving Charges in Massachusetts, as well as:

Leaving the Scene of Property Damage:
It is a crime if you knowingly collide or get into an accident with your vehicle and fail to stop or make your identity and registration of your vehicle known. Massachusetts law punishes violators of the crime of Leaving the Scene of Property Damage with imprisonment of not less than 2 weeks and up to 2 years in the House of Corrections.

With regards to the crime of Leaving the Scene of Property Damage, the extent of damage is not relevant except to the extent that it is circumstantial evidence to whether or not the defendant knew that there had been a collision.

Continue reading "Former Head of Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Busted for Drunk Driving in Harverhill" »

August 7, 2010

2 Boston Men Arrested for Exposing Themselves on MBTA - Twitter Aids in Arrest


Two Boston men were arrested this past week for exposing themselves on the MBTA. Lawrence MaGuire, 59 of Dorchester, and John A. Beyers, 64 of Brighton, were separately charged with the unlawful public indecency acts. Each have been charged with Open and Gross Lewdness and Indecent Exposure.

Tperps.jpgMaGuire is alleged to have exposed himself and then masturbating while on the Red Line from Davis to Park Street in Boston this past Wednesday.

Beyers is alleged to have exposed him to several women on July 22 at the Reservoir Station in Brookline. A witness to the incident apparently took a photo of Beyers with a cell phone and published the man's photo on Twitter. The Boston Herald, after becoming aware of the Twitter posts, alerted the MBTA, who apparently recognized Beyers from prior incidents. This led to Beyers' arrest yesterday.

As a result of apprehending Beyers through Twitter, the MBTA now also plans on creating a Twitter account to help passengers report possible crimes.

Open and Gross Lewdness:
The crime of Open and Gross Lewdness is the intentional, indecent and offensive exposure of one's genital's to another person, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 3 years in state prison. A subsequent conviction of Open and Gross Lewdness will also subject the defendant to Sex Offender Registration.

Indecent Exposure:
The crime of Indecent Exposure is the intentional exposure of one's genitals to one or more persons, who were offended as a result, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 6 months in the House of Corrections.

By contrast, the crime of Open and Gross Lewdness includes the intentional exposure of genitalia, but has the additional element that it must be done in a way as to produce alarm in shock.

Continue reading "2 Boston Men Arrested for Exposing Themselves on MBTA - Twitter Aids in Arrest" »

August 6, 2010

Boston Man Charged with Stabbing 3 Others in Dorchester Restaurant


Hung Nguyen, 32, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was arraigned on Friday in Dorchester District Court and charged with stabbing three other men during a fight on Thursday night.

According to the Boston Police Department, the incident occurred at the Saigon Seafood Restaurant in Dorchester. When they arrived on-scene, Boston Police officers said they encountered a melee involving a large group of individuals; and they were advised that there were multiple knives involves. Once the scene was made under control, Boston Police Officers report that several witnesses identified Hung Nguyen as the person who stabbed the 3 men.

Nguyen was held on $75,000 bail on Violent Crimes Charges including Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon and Assault with Intent to Murder.

The crime of Assault with Intent to Murder is defined as the unlawful assault on a person with the specific intent to cause the death of the person assaulted. The maximum penalty in Massachusetts for the crime of Assault with Intent to Murder is up to 10 years in state prison.

The crime of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon is defined as the intentional unlawful touching of the person of another with a dangerous weapon. The maximum penalty in Massachusetts for the crime of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon is up to 10 years in state prison.

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August 5, 2010

Defendant Convicted for Raping 2 Boston Women 20 Years Ago


Michael Johnson, 41, formerly of Boston's South End, was convicted today on 2 counts of Rape in Suffolk Superior Court against 2 women more than 20 years ago. The Suffolk County D.A.'s Office had charged Johnson with raping a 23 year old Boston woman in April 1990; and then another Boston woman in May 1990.

Johnson was convicted for the crime of Home Invasion in 2003. In that case, a sample of his DNA was obtained, which was then used to link him to the 1990 rapes of the two women.

Consequences of Rape and Sex Crimes Convictions:
As with many Sex Crimes, a conviction for Rape, or even the Attempt to Commit Rape, has extremely serious collateral consequences. First and foremost, a conviction for the crime of Rape in Massachusetts carries a potential penalty of up to life imprisonment.

Additionally, a Rape conviction in Massachusetts will trigger registration with the Sex Offender Registry Board, and the defendant may further be punished with a term of lifetime community parole supervision; be required to submit a DNA sample to the Massachusetts DNA Database; and may also serve as a predicate sexual offense for civil commitment as a 'sexually dangerous person.'

What is the crime of Home Invasion?
Massachusetts laws have defined the crime of Home Invasion as the unlawful entering of the home of another while armed with a dangerous weapon, and the person uses or threatens to use force on any person in the home. The punishment for a conviction of the crime of Home Invasion is commitment for a term of not less than 20 years, and up to life in state prison.

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August 4, 2010

Lawrence Middle School Coach Charged with Statutory Rape of Student


Tyrone Farrar, 30, was arraigned on Monday in Newburyport District Court on Sex Crimes Charges, including Statutory Rape, for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a female Lawrence Middle School Student.

According to the Essex County District Attorney's Office, Farrar, who works at a Lawrence Middle School as a security guard and serves as a basketball coach, allegedly began having sexual relations with a female student that began when she was 13 years old.

Farrar was arrested this past weekend for Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle and DUI while under the influence of drugs. At the time of his arrest, the female student, now 14 years old, was in the car with him. According to the police, the girl admitted to being sexually involved with Farrar, who is married.

Following his arraignment in Newburyport District Court, Farrar was held without bail.

In Massachusetts, the crime of Statutory Rape does not require that any force or threat of use of force to have been used. Rather, Statutory Rape is what is referred to as a 'strict liability crime', meaning that the consent of the victim is immaterial for prosecution of this offense (even a reasonable mistake as to the age of the victim is not a defense).

As with many Sex Crimes, a conviction for the crime of Statutory Rape would trigger the defendant to Sex Offender Registration; require him to submit his DNA to the state's DNA database; and could serve as a basis for civil commitment as a 'sexually dangerous person.'

Continue reading "Lawrence Middle School Coach Charged with Statutory Rape of Student" »

August 3, 2010

Woman on Trial for Accidental Fatal Shooting of Son


Lakeisha Gordon is currently on trial for Manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of her 8 year old son, Liquarry Jefferson, in 2007.

Gordon and her older son, Jayquan McConnico, were both charged in the boy's death for unlawful storage of an unlicensed firearm within reach of a young child. Although McConnico was also charged, he pled guilty to similar charges in 2008.

Liquarry Jefferson was fatally shot in the home by another boy, who was 7 years old at the time. At trial today, the boy, now 10, testified that he was watching TV when Liquarry Jefferson showed him the gun, which belonged to Jayquan McConnico. The boy testified that he asked Jefferson if there were bullets in the gun, and Jefferson said no. At that point, the boy testified he accidentally shot Jefferson.

No matter how you look at this case, whether Gadson is convicted and sentenced, it is undisputed that the loss of Liquarry Jefferson was tragic. Without question, Gadson has suffered and will continue to suffer with the loss of her son. For her to be tried for manslaughter, in my opinion, crosses the line of those rare cases that perhaps shouldn't be prosecuted...

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August 2, 2010

Beverly Teacher Who Plead Guilty in 22 Year-Old Stabbing Seeks to Return to Teaching


Elizabeth_Spoon_08210.jpgElizabeth Spoon, 40, plea guilty this past May in Peabody District Court to Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon for stabbing a man who was fighting with her boyfriend 22 years ago. In exchange for pleading Guilty, she was sentenced to 3 years' probation.

The incident happened 22 years ago. Although a warrant for her arrest issued at the time, she was never brought before the court because the warrant was mistakenly issued with her boyfriend's last name. It took the police 22 years to match with the Social Security number on the warrant with Spoon's...

Prior to answering to the charges in Peabody District Court, Spoon was employed as a Beverly Middle School Teacher teaching fifth-grade math. Her license to teach having recently been reinstated, she is now hoping to have her old job back.

Continue reading "Beverly Teacher Who Plead Guilty in 22 Year-Old Stabbing Seeks to Return to Teaching" »