October 2012 Archives

October 28, 2012

Boston Man Arrested for Milford Home Invasion

Two men have been arrested and charged with Massachusetts Crimes of Violence charges in connection with a Milford home invasion on September 29.

Rashad Blount, of Boston, and Richard Booker, of Middleboro, were both arrested this past week and charged with several violent crimes, including Armed Home Invasion, Armed Robbery, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.

According to police, Blount allegedly appeared at the home of the victim identifying himself as a pizza delivery man. A short time later, Booker allegedly entered the home, identifying himself as a police officer. Police also believe a third suspect may have also arrived.

After donning masks, one of the men then ordered the occupants to lay on the floor while the other man opened the safe in the bedroom. Blount is alleged to have pulled out a gun during the robbery, in which $7,000 in cash, checks and other items were taken.

When the Milford couple returned from their honeymoon, the wife allegedly identified one of the suspects from the profile of a mutual friend on Facebook. Both Blount and Booker were each arrested following that Facebook identification.

One of the central defenses in a case of this nature is certainly going to be the veracity of the identification made by the victim through Facebook. Comparing whatever initial descriptions of the suspects may have given to the police with the eventual identification could make or break the prosecution's case. Particularly if one or both of the men are able to establish any alibis for themselves during the date and time of the alleged incident.

Identification of the defendant is one of the most important issues in a criminal case, as the prosecution would obviously have no case if it cannot prove the identity of the perpetrator of the crime.

In assessing whether a witness' identification of the defendant is adequate, a jury is aksed to consider whether they are convinced that the witness had the capacity, and an adequate opportunity, to observe the person.

Whether an identification is adequate can depend on a number of factors, including how long or short a time was available for the observation; how far or close the witness was; the lighting conditions; whether the witness had occasion to see or know the suspect in the past; and the length of time that lapsed between the occurrence of the crime and the identification of the defendant.

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October 26, 2012

Everett Man Also Charged in Murder of Boston Man in May

Boston Police have arrested a second man in connection with the May Murder of Steven Fuentes.

Anthony Solomon is to be arraigned in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court and charged with Murder and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. He is the second defendant charged in connection with this murder. George Ortega, of Lynn, was previously charged and arraigned in September.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, George Ortega and Steven Fuentes confronted each other in front of the victim's home. The prosecution alleges that there was an "ongoing dispute" between the two men.

At some point during the confrontation, Ortega pulled out a gun and shot Fuentes several times. He was allegedly identified by witnesses and is also believed to be on a nearby surveillance video.

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October 12, 2012

Lowell Man Held on Kidnapping and Armed Robbery Charges

A Lowell man was arraigned in Lowell District Court and charged with several Massachusetts Crimes of Violence charges in connection with an alleged kidnapping of two brothers and their friend in Chelmsford.

The defendant, Bounnee Lakongpheng of Lowell, was charged with Armed Robbery and Kidnapping.

According to the Essex County District Attorney's Office, Chelmsford police received a call from two people complaining that they had been held against their will at gunpoint in the basement of a Chelmsford home. The victim told police that he, a friend and his brother went to hang out in that basement when they were allegedly threatened by three men. The three man allegedly demanded to know where the money and drugs was or they would kill him.

The defendant was identified after police showed a photo array to the victim, but the other two suspects are still unknown at this time.

Kidnapping in Massachusetts is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years in state prison, but where it is alleged that the kidnapping was commitment while armed with the intent to extort money, the punishment is imprisonment for any terms of years up to life.

Kidnapping is defined as the unlawful and forcible confinement of another person against his or her will.

Armed Robbery is also punishable for any term of years up to life in state prison. Armed Robbery is committed when the person, armed with a dangerous weapon, applies force or violence to the victim and takes his property with the intent to steal it.

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October 10, 2012

Topsfield Fair Vendor Charged with Rape of Woman at Fair

A sausage vendor at the Topsfield Fair was arrested this past week and charged with Rape in connection with an alleged sexual assault that occurred this past Monday night.

The New Hampshire man, Paul R. Carson, was charged with one count of Rape.

According to police, the alleged sexual assault occurred on the Topsfield fairgrounds in an area not accessible to the public at around 10:30 p.m. The woman reportedly gave a description of her attacker and police arrested the defendant.

In many cases such as this, identification is a critical, and sometimes, only area of defense. In every criminal case, the government has the burden of proving that the defendant is the perpetrator of the alleged crime. If this cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the person should be acquitted.

What might be important in a case such as this for the defense is knowing how many people had access to that specific area; how specific, or vague, was the description that was given to the police; how much of an opportunity did the victim have to see her attacker; and how much can her identification of him be challenged.

Other issues involved in Rape cases include whether the victim was treated to a rape exam. If so, the medical examination may or may not reveal evidence of forced sexual intercourse, in which case there might also be a defense of consent.

Rape in Massachusetts is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years for a first offense, and up to life for a subsequent offense.

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October 6, 2012

Mattapan Brothers Charged with Manslaughter in Boston Stabbing

Two brothers from Mattapan were charged with Massachusetts Murder Crimes Charges last week in connection with the stabbing of 15 year old Lance Hartgrove in Roxbury on July 10, 2012.

The two brothers were arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court and each are charged with Manslaughter and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, a fight broke out outside the Social Security Administration building in Roxbury. The victim, Lance Hartgrove, armed with a kitchen knife, reportedly went to the building after being called there by a friend. After throwing a glass bottle at a window, Hartgrove went into the building with two others and began fighting with one of the defendants, which eventually spilled outside.

Prosecutors reported that one of the defendants was at the social security office with his mother, and when the fight broke out, the mother called her other son to assist. Ultimately, the victim was stabbed in the chest, and a friend of his was stabbed in the back.

Following their arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court, both defendant brothers were each held on $500,000 bail.

In Massachusetts, Manslaughter is defined as an intentional unlawful killing that occurred with mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances lessen a defendant's culpability for the act, and some examples of mitigating circumstances are excessive force in self-defense; heat of passion upon reasonable provocation; or heat of passion by sudden combat.

The crime of Manslaughter in Massachusetts is punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years.

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