December 2010 Archives

December 30, 2010

Massachusetts Parole Board to Face Investigation After Woburn Officer Killed in Shootout Following Kohls Armed Robbery

he call for the investigation into the Massachusetts Parole Board was triggered after Cinielli, along with two other men robbed the Kohl's in Woburn this past Sunday and allegedly Murdered Woburn Police Officer John "Jack" Maguire, 60, who responded to the robbery call and began chasing two of the alleged robbers on foot. One of the men, who Woburn Police allege was Cinelli, began shooting at the officer and ultimately struck and killed him.

Dominic Cinelli was released by the Massachusetts Parole Board after a hearing in 2008 and now Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is asking for an investigation of the Parole Board for having released Cinelli, a man who at one point been sentenced to three concurrent life sentences for Armed Robbery, Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Gun Crimes.

As a result, the Governor, along with Police Chief across the state and nationwide, are seeking a review of the Massachusetts Parole Board's decision-making criteria in order to determine how someone, such as Cinelli with such a violent history and had been previously convicted as an Armed Career Criminal, could have been given leniency and released.

Typically, when someone is granted "parole", the inmate is released from prison after having served a portion of his prison sentence. Once released, however, parolees still remain under supervision and if conditions of parole are violated, could be returned to prison. Some conditions of release may include checking in with an assigned parole officer; submitting to random drug testing; abiding by a curfew; and/or counseling or treatment programs.

When deciding whether to grant someone parole, the Massachusetts Parole Board weighs the inmate's risk to re-offense and the "compatibility of his...release with the welfare of society." The Parole Board will also typically review information about the inmate such as: interviews with the inmate; diagnostic prison data; the inmate's social background; the circumstances of the offense for which he was committed; Victim Impact Statements; prison conduct records, including programs the inmate may have participated in while serving his sentence; and of course, the inmate's juvenile and adult criminal histories.

According to the Massachusetts Parole Board, 64% of Massachusetts parolees successfully completed parole without being returned to custody; 36% were issued technical violations; and only 10% were found to have committed a new crime while on parole.

Proponents of the Parole system argue one of the primary factors is releasing inmates is economics. For example, on average, it costs taxpayers approximately $40,000 per year to incarcerate someone, versus $5,000 to supervise someone on parole.

The other men involved in the Kohl's robbery have been identified by the Woburn Police Department as Scott Hanwright, 19, of Wakefield, who has been charged with First Degree Murder; and Kevin Dingwell, 51, also of Wakefield, who has been charged with Accessory After the Fact.

Continue reading "Massachusetts Parole Board to Face Investigation After Woburn Officer Killed in Shootout Following Kohls Armed Robbery" »

December 29, 2010

Marcus Colono Arraigned for Rape of 2 Boston College Students in 2008

At his arraignment yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court, Marcus Colono, 33, of Cambridge, was formally charged in connection with Rapes of two Boston college students in 2008. He was charged with four counts of Aggravated Rape, two counts of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Home Invasion, and Armed Robbery.

At his arraignment, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office alleges that, in 2008, Colono broke through the apartment door of two female college students in Brighton, tied them up and raped both women while threatening them with a knife.

Although Boston Police had obtained DNA evidence from those rapes, the case had gone unsolved until a Suffolk County Grand Jury ordered him to submit a DNA sample, which ultimately matched the DNA taken from one of the females. That DNA sample was also matched to the brutal Cambridge Home Invasion for which Colono had already been charged.

In the Cambridge incident this past August, Colono allegedly raped an 11 year old boy and brutally assaulted the boy's father. See BostonCriminalLawerysBlog Post of 11/05/10. In that incident, Colono has already been indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on two counts of Rape of a Child by Force; Home Invasion; and Armed Assault to Murder.

Colono was initially linked to the Cambridge Home Invasion when Cambridge Police purportedly matched a bloody handprint found on the wall to Colono's handprints, which were on file since 1998 from previous Drug Crimes.

Marcus Colono is the older brother of Michael Colono who was stabbed by Alexander Pring-Wilson in 2003, a Harvard University student at the time.

Following his arraignment yesterday, Colono was held on $1,000,000 cash bail.

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December 26, 2010

Boston Police Make Dozens of Arrests in Bogus Pawn Shop Sting Operation

The Boston Police Department announced that, last month, they had opened up a fake pawn shop booth in Boston's Downtown Crossing in an effort to catch persons trying to unload stolen merchandise.

They called it "M.I.B.", or Men in Blue, and they were looking to catch people selling stolen goods. The 'operation', according to the Boston Police Department, netted 24 arrests and resulted in several Theft Crimes Charges being issued, particularly for Receiving Stolen Property. Not all of the items pawned were stolen, but they do expect to issue an additional 40 warrants for Theft Crimes Charges.

According to the Boston Police Department, the sting operation was set up in response to an increase in home and cellphone robberies, for which numbers for those crimes are up this year. Within the pawnshop, the undercover Boston Police Officers used hidden cameras to identify those persons who pawned items and who did not have identification.

Although many citizens and businesses in the area hailed the Boston Police Department's sting operation, the operation could also hurt existing businesses. In tough economic times such as these, and where many businesses are hurting as a result, the sting operation could also damage the credibility of many existing pawn shops, and deter future customer. In other words, persons that might have intended to legally pawn items may now think twice in fear of mistakenly getting caught up in a police sting operation.

The reality is, most people that take advantage of unloading jewelry or other items at pawn shops don't have receipts for those items. Fear of then being questioned as to the authenticity of ownership of those items could deter pawn shop business.

The Theft Crime of Receiving Stolen Property:
In Massachusetts, the crime of Receiving Stolen Property is punishable by imprisonment to the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years or in state prison for up to 5 years.

In order to be convicted of the crime of Receiving Stolen Property, the prosecutor must prove:

  1. That the property in question was stolen;

  2. That the defendant knew that the property had been stolen; and

  3. That the defendant knowingly had the stolen property in his possession, bought the stolen property, or aided in concealing the stolen property.

Although the prosecutor is not required to prove who, specifically, stole the property, he is required to prove that the defendant actually knew that the property was stolen, or at least believed it was stolen.

Therefore, despite the number of arrests and potential warrant for Receiving Stolen Property under the Boston Police pawn shop sting operation, this lawyer believes that prosecutor will have a very difficult time in proving that these people had actual knowledge of the stolen property.

Good luck with this BPD... sure, they'll have press conference on one or two items, and hope that most of these defendants will plead out their cases...but I'll be waiting for the press conference on how many convictions are obtained of the cases that go trial...

Continue reading "Boston Police Make Dozens of Arrests in Bogus Pawn Shop Sting Operation" »

December 25, 2010

Two Boston Men Charged with Saks Fifth Avenue Robbery of $20,000 Worth of Bags

Robert Davidson, 46, and Kenneth James, 43, were arraigned yesterday morning in the Boston Municipal Court for allegedly trying to steal and run out of Saks Fifth Avenue with $20,000 worth of designer handbags.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Davidson and James took 13 Luis Vuitton bags, along with two others, and ran out of the store. A store security guard, however, was able to catch one of the men, while the second man was apprehended in the area shortly thereafter.

Following the pair's arraignment on Theft Crimes Charges including Larceny Over $250, the two men were both held without bail as a result of outstanding warrants in other courts.

In Massachusetts, the crime of Larceny is the defined as the wrongful taking of the property of another. In order to be prosecuted for the crime of Larceny, the prosecutor is required to prove the following:

  1. That the defendant took and carried away property;

  2. The property was under the protection or possession of another; and

  3. That the defendant took the property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property permanently.

A conviction for the crime of Larceny carries up to two years in the House of Corrections or up to five years in state prison.

Continue reading "Two Boston Men Charged with Saks Fifth Avenue Robbery of $20,000 Worth of Bags" »

December 24, 2010

Man Pleads Guilty in Newton Grandmother Murder

James Maguire-Clark, 23, a British citizen, pled guilty this past Wednesday to the Murder of Eleanor Clark, 80, a Weston grandmother, who was murdered in March of 2009.

Maguire-Clark, whom Middlesex County prosecutors say had a history of mental illness, pled guilty to Second Degree Murder for stabbing the elderly woman to death in her Weston home. Clark was found dead in her home after police were called and found Maguire-Clark in the kitchen.

With a history of mental illness, Middlesex County prosecutors acknowledged "the legitimate documented and demonstrated issues regarding the defendant's relevant and legally recognized mental health and diminished capacity."

It is apparent that, had this case gone to trial, Maguire-Clark would have raised the Defense of Insanity or Lack of Criminal Responsibility. Under Massachusetts law, a person is not guilty of a crime if 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.

With his plea to Second Degree Murder, Maguire-Clark will be sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole in 15. In the event Maguire-Clark is paroled, he will then be sentenced to probation for an additional 20 years.

Second Degree Murder:
Murder that is not committed with deliberate premeditation and malice, extreme atrocity or cruelty, or in the commission of a felony, is Murder in the Second Degree.

There are two elements that the prosecutor would have to prove in order for someone to be convicted of Second Degree Murder:

  1. The defendant committed an unlawful killing (unlawful in the sense that there was no justification for it, such as Self-Defense or Insanity); and

  2. That the killing was committed with malice.

Continue reading "Man Pleads Guilty in Newton Grandmother Murder" »

December 23, 2010

Chelsea Man Held Without Bail in Peabody Murder

Fernando Aristy, 24, of Chelsea, Massachusetts, continues to be held without bail in connection with the Murder of Chad McDonald, Sr., which allegedly resulted from a confrontation between the two at a Lynn warehouse.

Aristy is charged with First Degree Murder, Aggravated Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon and Aggravated Assault & Battery (both counts being 'aggravated' as a result of serious bodily injuries).

According to the Essex County District Attorney's Office, Aristy hit McDonald in the face and head with his fists as well as with a 2x4 piece of wood. McDonald was initially hospitalized for eleven days, but later succumbed to his injuries.

The altercation allegedly resulted from Aristy blocking McDonald's car with his, which then led to McDonald grabbing a screwdriver. The two men eventually scuffled on the ground, but nearby witnesses had to pull Aristy off of McDonald, who had gotten the 'upper hand' in the fight.

After the two men were separated, Aristy left the area, but then convinced his friend, who was driving him home, to return him to see McDonald so he could "keep fighting". McDonald's body was then discovered the following morning when he did not show up for a meeting with another person. Fellow co-workers found McDonald's body lying on an air mattress, severely beaten and bruised. He was eventually taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he did on October 20.

According to the Massachusetts Medical Examiner's Office, McDonald died from "blunt force trauma to the head with injuries to the skull and brain."

By all accounts, however, it readily appears that Aristy will assert a Defense of Self-Defense if this case goes to trial, and try to pin McDonald as the initial aggressor and at least argue that the death was Manslaughter, rather than premeditated Murder.

At this time, Aristy remains held without bail pending trial on this case.

Continue reading "Chelsea Man Held Without Bail in Peabody Murder" »

December 21, 2010

Pair Arrested in Boston Armed Robbery of Convenience Store

Briannah Newsom, 22 of Quincy, and Taylor Harrington, 25, of Boston, are both charged with Armed Robbery for their respective roles in the holdup of Home Market Convenience Store in Roslindale this past Sunday.

According to the Boston Police Department, Newsome and Harrington allegedly entered the Home Market sometime after 10:00 p.m. Sunday. Harrington allegedly went behind the counter, showed the clerk a knife and stole money from the register. Both Newsom and Harrington then left in a black car.

Sometime thereafter, store employees from a nearby CVS called Boston Police to report that a man and woman were acting suspiciously after entering the store. In response to the call, Boston Police Officers arrive and detained Newsom and Harrington. A 'bring back Identification' was conducted and employees from the Home Market Store identified them as the pair who robbed them earlier that evening.

In addition to being charged with Armed Robbery in connection with the Home Market of Roslindale incident, Boston Police are also actively investigating whether Newsom and Harrington might also be responsible for robbing the Dunkin' Donuts in Roslindale, also this past Sunday and approximately 40 minutes before the Home Market Robbery. In that incident, Dunkin Donuts employees also reported having been robbed by a man with a knife.

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December 20, 2010

Boston Man Arrested in Watertown 7-11 for Assault & Battery With Lollipops

Jose Rosario, 28, for Dorchester, Massachusetts, went into a 7-11 in Watertown and ended up being arrested for Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon and Disturbing the Peace for allegedly beating the clerk with windshield washer fluid and a lollipop tree stand.

According to the Watertown Police Department, police officers responded to the Mount Auburn Street 7-11 and observed Rosario allegedly threatening the clerk with windshield wiper fluid and assaulting the clerk with a lollipop display stand.

After separating the parties and speaking with witnesses, the Watertown Police Officer alleged that Rosario and the clerk got into an argument over a money order, which led Rosario spitting at him. The clerk, in return, threw a bottle of windshield wiper fluid at him in an effort to get him to leave; but Rosario allegedly threw the bottle back at him and then began to beat him with a lollipop display stand.

Disturbing the Peace:
In Massachusetts, the crime of Disturbing the Peace is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by imprisonment in the House of Corrections for up to 6 months, and/or by a fine of $200.

The essence of the crime of Disturbing the Peace is conduct that is unreasonably disruptive and annoys or disturbs the peace. For example, the conduct that is generally prohibited is that which most people wound find to be unreasonably disruptive, such as making loud noise; tumultuous, offensive or threatening conduct; or conduct that is so offensive that is inherently likely to provoke an imminent violent reaction).

File Under: 'Tis the season...

Continue reading "Boston Man Arrested in Watertown 7-11 for Assault & Battery With Lollipops" »

December 19, 2010

Cambridge Police Arrest Bicyclist for Assaulting Officer in Fit of "Bike Rage"

Stephen R. Gittens' "reckless and dangerous" bicycling on Broadway and Prospect Streets in Cambridge earlier this past week ultimately led to him unleashing a fit of 'bike rage' on a Cambridge Police Officer and his being arrested for several Violent Crimes Charges.

Gittens, 48, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was arrested and charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon; Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon; Assault & Battery on a Police Officer; Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct.

According to the Cambridge Police Department, Gittens was riding his bike in a "reckless and dangerous fashion" by "dangerously weaving in and out of oncoming traffic." When officers stopped Gittens in order to inform him that it was unsafe for him to interfere with traffic in that manner, Gittens allegedly began to verbally abuse the officer.

As the officer got out of his police vehicle, Gittens allegedly attacked the officer, throwing his bike at him and punching him in the face. As Gittens managed to then wrestle the officer to the ground, he allegedly then tried to remove the officer's gun from his holster. Nearby bystanders were able to assist the Cambridge Police Officer, who then managed to subdue Gittens and pepper-spray him.

Continue reading "Cambridge Police Arrest Bicyclist for Assaulting Officer in Fit of "Bike Rage"" »

December 17, 2010

East Boston Man Pleads Guilty for Running Down Cheating Girlfriend With Car

Roberto Lopez, 33, of East Boston, pled Guilty today to several Crimes of Violence Charges for allegedly trying to run down his cheating girlfriend, along with the friend, with his car.

Lopez pled Guilty to two counts of Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, three counts of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Assault & Battery.

According to the Essex County District Attorney's Office, on June 1, 2010, Lopez allegedly spotted his girlfriend, Vilma Rosales, along with her 'other boyfriend', Edwin Pineda, near the area of Union Street in Lynn, Massachusetts, and ran them down with his car.

Lopez allegedly tried running them down again, but both Rosales and Pineda were able to get out of the car's way. Not to be outdone, Lopez then got out of the car and started kicking Rosales in the head; and then ran after Pineda, pinned him to the ground and began punching him.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, Lopez allegedly told responding Lynn Police Officers that he was pissed when he saw Rosales with Pineda together in Lynn because she had promised him that she would stop seeing Pineda. Although Lopez and Rosales were not married, they were apparently together for 8 years and had 2 children together.

Both Rosales and Pineda suffered injuries as a result of the attack by Lopez. Rosales suffered a broken knee and femur; Pineda suffered a deep gash on one of his legs.

Although the Essex County prosecutor requested a state prison sentence of at least 7 years, the Judge sentenced Lopez to 5 year in state prison, with 2 years probation following his release.

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December 16, 2010

Massachusetts Supreme Court Rejects McCowen's Appeal of Conviction for Christa Worthington Murder

mccowen.jpgThe Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently decided and rejected Christopher McCowen's appeal of his conviction for the Murder of Christa Worthington in 2002. In a unanimous decision, Massachusetts' highest court unanimously ruled that the defendant's appeal was without merit and found "no basis on which to reduce the degree of guilt or order a new trial."

Christopher McCowen, of Hyannis, Massachusetts, was convicted of the Rape and Murder of Christa Worthington in 2002 in her home in Truro on Cape Cod. McCowen was found by a jury to have first raped and then stabbed her. Worthington was found in her home as her 2.5 year old daughter was against her mother's lifeless body. The daughter was unharmed.

Despite McCowen having lost his appeal, the decision did raise some concerns, particularly with racial issues that were made public shortly after the trial, raising the concern of racial bias during jury deliberations. Specifically, after the conviction, it was revealed that, during jury deliberations, for example, one white female juror referred to McCowen as "a big black man" who had been trying to intimidate her by staring at her in the courtroom. She also stated that bruises like those found on the victim's body would result when "a big black man beats up on a small woman" These statements obviously offended fellow jurors, and in particular, a black female juror, which led to a confrontation within the jury room. As a result of these and other allegations of racial impropriety having occurred during jury deliberations, the trial judge held a 2-day hearing a year after McCowen's conviction in 2006.

Article 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of a criminal defendant to a trial by a fair and impartial jury. Therefore, once a defendant files an affidavit from a juror who alleges that one or more jurors made statements that reasonably demonstrate racial or ethnic bias, and the credibility of the affidavit is in issue, the trial should should conduct a hearing to determine the truth or falsity of the affidavit's allegations.

That is what was done in McCowen's case with all the jurors over 2 days. Writing for the majority of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, the Justice Ireland did not disagree with the trial judge's decision to hold such a hearing, but did state that he would have interviewed jurors more thoroughly. He elaborated that further questioning "would have given context and insight into whether" the comments and issues raised during jury deliberations were "simply small talk or indicative of implicit bias."

Notwithstanding the severe racial issues raised, the trial judge found that the juror who made those statements "did not hold actual racial bias" and concluded that the black female juror's response served the purpose of "blunting the effect" of the racial stereotype and of warning the jury of the risk of racial stereotypes infecting their deliberations. in other words, there were racial issues that were of concern to the court during jury deliberations, but they did not rise to the level necessary to warrant "actual" racial bias? ...I respectfully disagree with the court's decision. McCowen should have gotten a new trial...

Continue reading "Massachusetts Supreme Court Rejects McCowen's Appeal of Conviction for Christa Worthington Murder" »

December 15, 2010

Sex Offender Arrested for Sex Crimes on Boston Bus

dmclean.jpgDonnie McLean, 46, was arrested last Friday for Sex Crimes after he allegedly began fondling himself on a Route 28 bus headed towards Ruggles Station at Northeastern University in Boston.

McLean, who is also a Level 3 Sex Offender, was arrested and charged with Open & Gross Lewdness.

According to the MBTA Police, McLean allegedly initially evaded paying his fare for the bus by going in through the rear doors at Dudley Station. He then sat in the back near a young female and, according to the victim, began touching himself very inappropriately.

As the woman caught on to what McLean was allegedly doing, the woman got up and moved closer to the front of the bus, but McLean followed her and actually sat down next to her. He then continued to fondle himself.

After the incident was reported by the woman and when Northeaster University and MBTA Police detained McLean, they allegedly observed that his pants were unzipped.

Following McLean's arraignment for Open & Gross Lewdness last Friday, McLean was brought back into court earlier this week and appeared before a Judge. He was ordered to submit to an alcohol treatment abuse evaluation at the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center.

MBTA Sex Crimes On The Rise:
According the MBTA Transit Police, McLean's arrest is the 35th so far this year for Open & Gross Lewdness, almost double the arrest for the same period from last year (19). According to the MBTA Deputy Transit Chief, the rise in arrest for Sex Crimes is likely more attributable to people coming forward and reporting the crimes, rather than an actual rise in incidents.

Sex Offender Registration for Open & Gross Lewdness:
A conviction for the sex crime of Open & Gross Lewdness may not only subject the person to a state prison commitment for up to 3 years, but a second or subsequent offense will also subject the person to registration with the Sex Offender Registry Board.

Once a conviction triggers registration, what generally happens once the person is advised of his obligation to register is that the person has 2 days to register if on probation or after their release from custody.

After an offender initially registers with the Sex Offender Registry Board, a letter is sent advising the person to submit evidence regarding the dangerousness and risk of re-offense. After review of the charges and the person's records and any other evidence, the Sex Offender Board will assign a preliminary classification level to the offender (1, 2 or 3) and inform them if they are required to register and at which level.

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December 13, 2010

Haverhill Man Charged in Motor Vehicle Homicide Suspected of Drunk Driving

Robert Bryant, 50, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, was arraigned and charged with Drunk Driving Charges and Motor Vehicle Homicide for striking and killing Cynthia Anne Ray.

According to the Essex County District Attorney's Office, Ray had gone to the Andover Massachusetts State Police barracks with her mother to file a motor vehicle crash report that involved her husband earlier in the day. As she left the State Police station and headed towards her car, she was struck by a pickup truck. Her mother, not realizing what had happened, ran inside the police station to report that accident. Only when State Police officers responded outside did she discover that it was her daughter that had been struck.

Cynthia Anne Ray was taken to Lawrence General Hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Meanwhile, Robert Bryant allegedly tried to leave the scene, but was stopped by Massachusetts State Police. Officers who stopped him believe that he was under the influence of alcohol.

Bryant has been charged with several Drunk Driving Crimes, including DUI/OUI, Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Personal Injury, and Motor Vehicle Homicide. Following his arraignment, he was held on $50,000 cash bail.

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December 11, 2010

Boston Man Charged with Attempted Rape at Massachusetts College of Art

massart.jpgA Boston man, Venard Shepard, 21, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was arrested this pasty Thursday in New Bedford on an outstanding warrant for an alleged sexual assault on a Massachusetts College of Art student.

Boston Police report that Shepard allegedly attacked the female student on November 26 in the college's bathroom. She told police that she was approached from behind and Shepard sexually assaulted her and tried to Rape her. After a struggle, Shepard allegedly fled that area. It's unclear whether Shepard was also a Massachusetts College of Art student.

Venard Shepard was arraigned yesterday morning in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court on Sex Crimes Charges including: Assault with Intent to Rape; Aggravated Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon; and Assault & Battery.

Being charged with a Sex Crime could result in extremely serious and devastating consequences, not only including the possibility of imprisonment, but also Registration as a Sex Offender; lifetime community parole supervision; requiring to submit your DNA to the Massachusetts DNA database; or even being civilly committed as a 'sexually dangerous person' for life.

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December 10, 2010

Mattapan Murder Suspect Arraigned, Held Without Bail

Edward Washington, 31, of Boston, Massachusetts, was arraigned this morning in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court in connection with the September 28th quadruple Murder in Mattapan that claimed the lives of four people, which included a 2 year old child.

Washington was formally arraigned and charged with four counts of First Degree Murder, Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, Armed Robbery, Home Invasion, and Gun Charges.

At Washington's arraignment this morning, Suffolk County prosecutors alleged that Washington conspired with Dwayne Moore and his cousin, Kimani Washington, to jointly rob the victims at 23 Sutton Street. As written in the Boston Criminal Lawyers Blog on 12/09/10, the suspects allegedly knew that the victim who was initially targeted, Simba Martin, ran a drug business from his Mattapan home and had a stash of drugs and money there. The prosecutor expressed the belief that Washington supplied the guns used the home invasion and murders, but did not reveal, however, whom they believed was the person who actually pulled the trigger that resulted in the four victims being murdered.

A fifth shooting victim, Marcus Hurd, who happened to arrive at the Mattapan home to purportedly buy drugs, was also shot but still remains hospitalized and in critical condition.

Following his arraignment on Murder Charges this morning, Edward Washington remains held without bail.

How Can Prosecutors Obtain a Conviction if They Don't Know Who Pulled the Trigger?
Despite apparently not knowing which of the persons charged with Murder actually pulled the trigger, Suffolk County prosecutors will likely proceed on what is called a Joint Venture Theory.

When someone is charged as a 'Joint Venturer', a person can be found guilty of a crime even if he did not personally commit the act; but rather, 'aided and abetted' in the commission of the crime with other persons.

In a 'Joint Venture', a criminal defendant may be found guilty if he is found to have intentionally participated with another int he commission of a crime as something he wished to bring about, and by his actions, intended to make it succeed.

When the prosecutor seeks to prove his case through a 'Joint Venture Theory', he must prove:

  1. That the defendant was present at the scene of the crime;

  2. That the defendant had knowledge that another person intended to commit the crime and shared that person's intent; and

  3. That the defendant aided or assisted in the commission of the crime, or that by agreement, was willing and available to assist the other person in carrying out that crime if necessary.

Therefore, when this case goes to trial, prosecutors will not necessarily have to prove who, specifically, pulled the trigger. Rather, they will simply have to prove that each of the defendants were there; they all shared the intent to commit the murders; and all assisted in the commission of the crimes in some way.

Continue reading "Mattapan Murder Suspect Arraigned, Held Without Bail" »

December 9, 2010

Third Boston Man Arrested in Mattapan Quadruple Murder

Edward Washington, 31, of Boston, Massachusetts, was arrested and is to be charged in connection to the Mattapan murders that claimed the lives of four people during the September drug robbery in Mattapan.

Boston Police reported that Washington is to be charged with four counts of Murder, as well as Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, Home Invasion, Armed Robbery, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. He is scheduled to be arraigned this morning in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court.

As previously reported in the Boston Criminal Lawyers Blog, the Boston Police and Suffolk County prosecutors allege that Edward Washington, Dwayne Moore and Kimani Washington conspired to rob Simba Martin, who was known to them as dealing drugs from his Mattapan home on Sutton Avenue. The men, according to the Boston Police and prosecutors, knew that Martin ran a drug business from his home and knew of his stash of drugs and money.

On September 28, 2010, the men tried to get Martin to come out of his home, but another man, Marcus Hurd, arrived to purchase drugs of his own. At that point, the men forced both Martin and Hurd inside the home at gunpoint and began robbing the home.

After cash, drugs and other items were taken, Martin and Hurd, along with Levaughn Washum-Garrison, Eyanna Flonory and her 2 year old child, Amani Smith, were forcefully taken from the home and directed to nearby Woolson Street where they were shot, execution style, multiple times. Their bodies were found, naked, the next morning by a passer-by. Only Marcus Hurd survived the gunshot wounds, but he remains in critical condition at a Boston Hospital.

The day after the murders, Kimani Washington was stopped by Boston Police Officers driving the car they believe was linked to Marcus Hurd. Washington was arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition. Suffolk County prosecutor have revealed that one of the guns allegedly used in the Mattapan murders was seized during a search of Washington's mother-in-law's apartment. He has not, as of this date, been charged with Murder.

Dwayne Moore was also previously arrested and has already been arraigned in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court. He has been charged with four counts of First Degree Murder.

At Moore's arraignment, Suffolk County prosecutors revealed that Moore knew of Martin's illegal drug business, including the stash of drugs and money at his home, because he had lived with Martin for a short time after being released from state prison in 2010 after serving time for a Manslaughter conviction.

Continue reading "Third Boston Man Arrested in Mattapan Quadruple Murder" »

December 8, 2010

Two Men Arrested for Drug Trafficking on Route 114 in Lawrence

cocaine.jpgDennis King and Raymond Swanson, both of North Andover, were arrested today in Drug Charges after their car was stopped by Massachusetts State Police on Route 114 in Lawrence today.

The car, which was a rental from Lowell, was stopped for speeding. A later search of the car revealed over 30 grams of cocaine. Both men have been charged with Drug Trafficking in Cocaine, Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws; Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon and were scheduled to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court this morning.

Drug Trafficking:
In Massachusetts, the crime of Drug Trafficking involves the knowing or intentional manufacture, distribution or possession with the intent to distribute certain net weights of controlled substances.

Drug Trafficking carries extremely serious penalties, which vary depending on the 'weight' of the drugs seized. For example, someone charged with Trafficking between 28 to 100 grams of cocaine could face anywhere from a minimum of 5 years, to a maximum of 20 years in state prison.

Constitutional Issues in Drug Cases:
In cases involving the Search & Seizure of drugs, whether from your car or home, raises serious constitutional issues that should, at the very least be explored, if not litigated.

When charged with the crime involving the unlawful possession of drugs, whether the search and ultimate seizure of the drugs was valid should be challenged to ensure that the officers had the requisite 'reasonable suspicion' or 'probable cause' to seize the items and make the arrest.

The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights prohibits the police or government from searching your body, home, vehicle or property unless they have:

  1. At the very least, 'reasonable suspicion' to believe that you have engaged in the unlawful or illegal activity; or

  2. Secured a Search Warrant specifically delineating the place to be searched and the evidence that they are searching for.

In this context, even if you have been arrested for a Drug Crime, not all hope is lost. They police may have exceeded their Constitutional bounds and violated your Right to be Free from Unlawful Searches and Seizures. If so, you should challenge the seizure and seek to have the drugs suppressed or excluded from the criminal prosecution against you!

Continue reading "Two Men Arrested for Drug Trafficking on Route 114 in Lawrence" »

December 7, 2010

Two Dorchester Girls Charged in Framingham Robbery

zapata.jpgTwo teenage girls, both from Dorchester, were arrested after breaking into a Framingham apartment this past Sunday. Luz Zapata, 18, along with a 14 year old juvenile girl, both allegedly admitted breaking into the Framingham apartment.

Both girls were discovered to have broken into the apartment when one of the residents arrived. Zapata was allegedly found to be in the apartment, while the other girl was apparently acting as a lookout. When confronted, the two girls got into a taxi and left.

The resident then then followed the taxi while calling the Framingham Police Department, and the police arrested the girls as they were found sitting in the taxi at a train station. Both girl initially denied stealing anything, but a later search revealed an iPod and charger that was reported missing from the apartment.

Both girls were charged with Breaking & Entering in the Daytime With Intent to Commit a Felony and Larceny Over $250.

Zapata was arraigned in Framingham District Cout and held on $500 cash bail. She also had an outstanding warrant against her person out of Boston Municipal Court. The 14 year old juvenile was arraigned in Framingham Juvenile Court.

Continue reading "Two Dorchester Girls Charged in Framingham Robbery" »

December 6, 2010

Ninth Drunk Driving Charge for Rhode Island Man

fd2859_perry.jpgVernon Perry, of Rhode Island, was arrested in Massachusetts this past Saturday and charged with his ninth (9th) Drunk Driving Charge.

Perry was arraigned in Tauton District Court this morning and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Subsequent Offense, as well as Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. Following his arraignment, he was held without bail pending a Dangerousness Hearing.

In Massachusetts, a conviction for a 5th or subsequent Drunk Driving charge carries up to 5 years in state prison.

According to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, Perry was driving erratically, and the vehicle was drifting back and forth over the double yellow line. The Taunton Police Officer that stopped Perry's car claimed he observed his eyes glassy and red; and that it took him four attempts to get his license out of his wallet.

Perry was also asked to perform Field Sobriety Tests, which he failed; and he refused to submit to a Breathalyzer Test.

Should I Take the Breathalyzer Test?
If ever pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving in Massachusetts, you should know that the legal limit for Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08, which is relatively low.

Although police officers are supposed to tell you, they may (intentionally?) omit to tell you that you have the right to refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer Test. Although there will be a mandatory loss of your Driver's License if you do refuse to take the Breathalyzer Test (how long depends if you've previously been convicted and/or requested to take a BAC test), you should carefully weigh any loss of your Driver's License against the likelihood of providing greater evidence against you in the inevitable criminal prosecution.

For example, in cases where you know you would blow a BAC reading greater than 0.08, you might decide to refuse the Breathalyzer test with the hope of all other evidence against you being week, and hopefully beating your drunk driving case.

If you elect not to submit to a Breathalyzer Test, you should know that a refusal cannot be used at trial in the criminal prosecution against you.

In Massachusetts, the length of suspension of your Driver's License due to a Breathalyzer Refusal depends on whether you have any prior convictions or prior refusals to Breathalyzer Tests. If none, your license will be suspended for 180 days; with two priors, it will be suspended for 5 years; and with three prior, you could face a lifetime loss of your Driver's License.

Continue reading "Ninth Drunk Driving Charge for Rhode Island Man" »

December 1, 2010

Regis College Murder Suspect Arraigned, Granted Bail

Robenson Daniel-thumb-250x187.jpgRobenson Daniel, who was arrested in September for the Murder of Elhaji Malick Ndiaye, 18, of Waltham, was arraigned yesterday in Middlesex Superior Court and charged with Murder, Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Armed Assault with Intent to Murder.

According to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office and Waltham Police Department, Daniel allegedly stabbed Ndiaye to death in the parking lot of Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. The men, who did not appear to know one another, were reportedly visiting friends who attended the school.

Robenson Daniel was charged with ther Murder of Ndiaye, as well as for trying to stab two others. Following his arraignment, Daniel was held on $750,000 bail.

Continue reading "Regis College Murder Suspect Arraigned, Granted Bail" »