January 22, 2011

Two Men Charged with DUI and Motor Vehicle Homicide for Killing Framingham Construction Worker

Jeremy Garnder, 29, was arraigned on Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Homicide Charges and Walter Smith was charged with DUI / Drunk Driving Charges in the car crash that killed Gregory Vilidnitsky, 57, in Framingham last September.

Both men were arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court this past week. Gardner was charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide, Leaving the Scene of an Accident After Causing Death, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Property Damage, and Operating Under the Influence, Second Offense.

Smith was also arraigned on the Drunk Driving Charge of Operating Under the Influence, Fourth Offense.

According to the Framingham Police Department and the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, Jeremy Gardner was allegedly driving the truck when it struck and killed Vilidnitksy, who was working on a construction site on the highway that day. Gardner then allegedly got out of the car and began to leave the area.

Meanwhile, Smith, who was initially a passenger in the car, then allegedly got into the driver's seat and also allegedly tried to leave the area. He was reportedly arrested at the scene of the accident.

Following their arraignment, Smith remained in custody on $10,000 cash bail; and Gardner was also held on $100,000 cash bail and ordered to be placed on house arrest with an electronic monitoring device and sobrietor should he post bail.

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January 21, 2011

Revere Mental Health Patient Arrest for Murder of Peabody Woman

Deshawn James Chappell, 27, was arrested last night by Boston Police Officers at his grandmother's apartment in Roxbury for the Revere Murder of Stephanie Moulton, 25, of Peabody, Massachusetts.

Moulton was a counselor at a Revere group home that was operated under the Suffolk Mental Health Association (which is contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health) where Chappel was a resident. According to Revere Police, Boston Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Moulton was allegedly attacked by Chappell and taken from the group home sometime yesterday. Later on in the evening, her body was found behind the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Lynn.

At this time, no information has been released as to specific details regarding the murder, but authorities believe that, at the time of the incident, Moulton was likely the only employee at the group home at the time. Police have indicated, however, that the murder most likely occurred inside the Revere group home, as blood and other forensic evidence was located.

Chappell was arraigned on Massachusetts Murder Charges this morning in the Chelsea Division of the Boston Municipal Court. Following his arraignment, Chappell was held without bail and sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a Mental Health Evaluation.

It has been reported that Chappell suffered from some type of mental health illness, and so one can expect that issues relative to competency and/or an Insanity Defense / Defense of Lack of Criminal Responsibility should the case go to trial.

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January 20, 2011

Revere Man Arrested with Drugs & Alcohol in Car, Charged with 4 DUI

Richard P. Speropoulos, 64, of Revere, Massachusetts, was arrested last week on DUI / Drunk Driving Charges in Lynn when he was allegedly found sitting in his car with a bottle of vodka and a bag of marijuana.

According to the Lynn Police Department, officers purportedly received a 'tip' about an impaired driver on Boston Street. When officers responded to the area, they allegedly found Speropoulos sitting in his car with the engine running. Lynn Police Officers allege that Speropoulos smelled of alcohol and spoke with slurred speech.

Although Field Sobriety Tests were not performed due to ice on the ground, Lynn Police reported that a bottle of vodka, along with 23 grams of marijuana was seized from Speropoulos' vehicle. At booking, he allegedly blew a 0.23 on the Breathalyzer Test.

Can You Be Charged With DUI / Drunk Driving If the Vehicle Is Parked?

Simply put, YES!

Under Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws, a person is considered to "operate" a motor vehicle if he intentionally does any act or makes use of any mechanical or electrical agency of the car which, alone or in sequence, will set in motion the power of the vehicle.

In other words, "operation" or what is considered 'driving' under Massachusetts DUI Laws is not limited to literally driving the vehicle or even setting it in motion. Rather, the law encompasses even the intentional act of starting the vehicle's engine!

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January 19, 2011

Boston Man Wanted for Dorchester Murder Captured in RI

Levonrence Perkins, 20, of Boston, wanted in connection with the Dorchester Murder of Cordell McAfee, was arrested by federal law enforcement yesterday in Providence.

Cordell McAfee was murdered in the Dorchester section of Boston last May 7 as he was standing near the intersection of Roseland Street and Dorchester Avenue.

Although Boston Police and the Suffolk County D.A.'s Office believe that McAfee's murder was not a result of his testifying as a key witness in the murder trial of Trina Persad, all reasonable indications suggest that was the motive. Trina Persad was killed in 2002 by a shotgun blast as she played in a Roxbury park.

Although McAfee was also charged in connection with the murder of Trina Persad, he pled guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for his testimony against Marquis Nelson and Joseph Cousin. In that trial, Nelson was acquitted of Murder, while Cousin was convicted of Second Degree Murder.

Second Degree Murder:
In Massachusetts, First Degree Murder is defined as an unlawful killing committed with deliberate premeditation and malice or with extreme atrocity or cruelty. Felony Murder, or murder committed during the commission or attempted commission of a felony punishable by life in prison, such as Armed Robbery, is also Murder in the First Degree.

Second Degree Murder in Massachusetts, by contrast, is an unlawful killing that was not committed with deliberate premeditation and malice, extreme atrocity or cruelty, or in the commission of a felony.

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January 18, 2011

Worcester Woman Charged with Murder in Stabbing Death of Boyfriend

Shirley Sanabria, 44, of Worcester, is now facing Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Joseph Scott, 45, resulting from an altercation that took place this past weekend.

Sanabria has been charged with First Degree Murder and Aggravated Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

According to the Worcester Police Department and Worcester County District Attorney's Office, police responded to Sanabria's apartment on Sunday for a report for a person who appeared to be dead. On arrival, Worcester Police officers found Joseph Scott lying on the floor, suffering from a puncture wound to his chest.

The Worcester Police Department believes that Sanabria and Scott got into an argument, during which Sanabria allegedly grabbed a knife and stabbed Scott once in the chest. Although the police have not revealed many details, they suggest that there was another person in the apartment during the altercation that may have separated the two during the argument.

From a search of the apartment, police officers reportedly seized several rounds of ammunition in the bedroom of Sanabria's son, Jonathan Sanabria Sears, 18. He has been charged with Massachusetts Gun Crimes Charges, including Unlawful Possession of Ammunition.

With so few details released, it's unclear what prompted the argument, who was the initial aggressor, and whether Sanabria acted in Self-Defense.

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January 17, 2011

Norwell Mom Arrested for Driving Drunk with Baby in Car...and Naked!

Gayle Drummond, 37 of Norwell, was arrested this past Saturday night and charged with violating Massachusetts Drunk Driving / DUI Laws for driving without her pants and with her 4 month old baby in the car.

According to the Norwell Police Department, officers received reports of a drunk driver who allegedly hit a snow bank, removed her pants and then continued driving. The person who reported the incident also observed an infant in the backseat.

A short while later, Drummond was stopped by Norwell Police, who allege that she had an odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. The officers did confirm that there was a 4 month old child in the backseat, and that Drummond was not wearing her pants.

An inventory search of the car, according to the police, revealed a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee cup containing alcohol, as well as an open box of beer on the passenger floor. Elsewhere in the car officers also recovered additional beer and hard alcohol.

Drummond was arrested on scene and charged with DUI / Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, 3rd Subsequent Offense; Possession of Open Container of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle; and Reckless Endangerment of a Child.

Although the child reportedly was alright, it was taken to South Shore Hospital for evaluation and then taken into custody by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

As with every Drunk Driving related criminal charge, if you are stopped by the police for suspected DUI / OUI, you should be aware of your legal rights, including whether you elect to perform any Field Sobriety Tests or submit to a Blood Alcohol / Breathalyzer Test. Although there may be consequences, such as a loss of your driver's license for refusal of a Breathalyzer Test, you should weigh the consequences carefully relative to possibly having a great opportunity at beating your case.

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January 15, 2011

Quincy Mother Charged With Murder in Child's Poisoning

A Quincy mother, Li Rong Zhang, was arrested on Massachusetts Murder Charges of her 8 year old son's death after the two were found unconscious in their Quincy apartment.

According to the Quincy Police Department and Norfolk County prosecutors, Zhang allegedly tried to kill the two of them by barricading herself and the young child in a room and then lighting a coal-fired hibachi grill. When the police responded to the home after the fire alarm went off, the door to the room was found to have been blocked by a large piece of furniture.

The pair was found by Zhang's other child, a 16 year old boy, when he came back from school.

Li Rong Zhang was found unconscious and taken to Quincy Medical Center, where she was formally arraigned for Murder and held without bail.

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January 14, 2011

Braintree Boy Scout Leader Charged With Sexual Assault and Attempted Rape of Boy

Michael Cimmino, 54, of Braintree, was initially charged with Massachusetts Sex Crimes in Quincy District Court for alleged inappropriate sexual conduct towards a child under 14. At his arraignment in Quincy on January 3, Cimmino entered a plea of not guilty to sex crimes charges including Kidnapping; Assault with Intent to Rape; and eight counts of Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14.

This past week, however, Cimmino was charged with additional Sex Crimes after a second alleged victim came forward claiming inappropriate sexual conduct. He was again arraigned in Quincy District Court on sex crimes charges including Indecent Assault & Battery on a Person Under 14 and Open & Gross Lewdness.

According to the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, Cimmino is alleged to have touched the child inappropriately when the child was at Cimmino's house for a New Year's sleepover. The 'inappropriate touching' as alleged by the prosecutor, consists of Cimmino allegedly rubbing the head and shoulders of the child...

Although technically rubbing the head and shoulders of someone might rise to the level of an inappropriate touching and lead to charges of Indecent Assault & Battery, I'm unclear as to where the allegations of Kidnapping and Assault with Intent to Rape come from as no information relative to these charges has yet been made public...

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January 13, 2011

Waltham Man Attacks Dad with Ax - Charged with Attempted Murder

Tracy Hough, 42, of Waltham, was arraigned in Waltham District Court on Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges including Attempted Murder, Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Mayhem.

This past Wednesday, Hough allegedly attacked his father with an ax, almost severing his hand, in what prosecutors described as an argument over a snow-blower. Hough, who lives in the basement of his parents' home, left the scene after his mother went downstairs to discovery Ralph Hough, the father, bleeding from two apparent ax wounds to his back and one to his hand.

Notably, when the Waltham Police were dispatched regarding the crime, Hough was described as "possibly bipolar". It's unclear at this time what Hough's mental health history is at this time, and whether a Defense of Criminal Responsibility might be viable in this case.

Following his arraignment, Hough was held pending a Dangerousness Hearing, and Emergency Restraining Orders were issued against him ordering him to stay away from his parents and the home.

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January 11, 2011

Dorchester Man Arrested for Assault on Boston Police Officer With Gun

Marvin Veiga was arraigned this morning in Dorchester District Court for allegedly Assaulting a Boston Police Officer with a Deadly Weapon, a rifle, this past Saturday after a high-speed chase in Dorchester. The Boston Police Officer ultimately shot Marvin Veiga in the leg.

Veiga was also charged with various Massachusetts Gun Crimes, including Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, Possession of a Loaded Firearm; and Resisting Arrest.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, the incident occurred when officer's of the "Boston Police Department's Youth Violence Strike Force" got an 'anonymous tip' to pull over a Chrysler in which Veiga and three others were in. When police tried to pull the car over, the driver, Osvaldir Mendes, of Dorchester, led police on a chase. When the car finally pulled over, Veiga, Mendes, and Takari Elliot, of Dorchester, got out of the car and they all ran. The fourth person in the car, Daronde Bethea of Milton, remained inside the car.

...I'll take bets that the source of the 'anonymous tip' is never revealed in this prosecution...but that's another blog for another day altogether...

Once the others were out of the car, a Boston Police Officer reported seeing Veiga with a rifle and ordered him to drop it. According to the police officer, Veiga allegedly pointed the gun at the officer, who then shot him in the leg.

With regards to Mendes, he was charged with various Motor Vehicle Crimes, including Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle; and all defendants have been charged with Gun Crimes and Resisting Arrest.

At his arraignment, Suffolk County prosecutors made it a point to note that Veiga had previously been charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm when his car was stopped by Massachusetts State Police. In that case, however, a Judge had allowed his Motion to Suppress, finding that there was no probable cause to stop the car. That decision has been appealed, however, because as we all know, the police never infringe on someone's Constitutional rights...

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January 10, 2011

Methuen Man Arrested for 14th DUI / Drunk Driving Offense in Lawrence

Albert Lanzo, Jr., 50, of Methuen, was arrested for his 14th Massachusetts DUI Offense in Lawrence this past weekend. Lanzo was specifically arraigned on Drunk Driving Charges including Operating Under the Inlfuence of Alcohol, 5th or Subsequent Offense; Driving with a Suspended License; and Leaving the Scene of Property Damage.

According to the Lawrence Police Department, Lanzo allegedly drove over a mailbox and left the scene. After police responded to investigate, Lanzo's truck was located less than a mile away, with Lanzo slumped over the steering wheel.

Although Lawrence Police "detected a strong odor of alcohol", it is unclear whether Lanzo was asked to perform any Field Sobriety Tests and/or to submit to a Breathalyzer Test.

Following his arraignment, Lanzo remained held without bail pending an upcoming Dangerousness Hearing to determine if bail will be imposed, or if he will continue to be held without bail and deemed too dangerous to be released back into the community.

OUI / DUI / Drunk Driving Charges:
Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes are prosecuted vigorously by all District Attorney's Offices and the consequences one may face for a DUI/OUI conviction can be severe, particularly if it is a subsequent offense.

Even if one can avoid jail time after being convicted with a DUI/OUI, the financial and other penalties involved in a drunk driving conviction can be severe. Total statutorily imposed fines/fees can reach into thousands of dollars; and the person can be placed on probation and ordered to undergo counseling; drug/alcohol treatment; community service; as well as face a suspension of his driver's license.

Continue reading "Methuen Man Arrested for 14th DUI / Drunk Driving Offense in Lawrence" »

January 9, 2011

Wareham Man To Be Arraigned on Manslaughter Charges for Killing Two Others at Wareham Motel

Richard Walling, 20, of Wareham, Massachusetts, was arrested on Murder Charges in connection with the stabbing deaths of Leonard Bollla, 35, adn Ryan Aponte, 24, both of Wareham, which occurred at a Wareham motel.

Walling is expected to be arraigned tomorrow morning on two counts of Manslaughter.

According to the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office, Bolla and Aponte were both stabbed at a Wareham motel Friday evening. Although few details have been released to date, it has been reported that the murders resulted from a botched robbery attempt, wherein two masked men broke into the front door of the motel and tried the motel owner's daughter and boyfriend, who is Richard Walling. Apparently Walling tried to fight off the two men, Bolla and Aponte, after a scuffle, ended up stabbing both of them.

The Plymouth Police Department reported that, when officers arrived on scene, Bolla was found in the parking lot with multiple stab wounds to the chest; and Aponte was found in a wooded area behind the motel.

Notwithstanding being charged with Manslaughter, it readily appears that Walling will have a potential Defense of Self-Defense available to him, especially if it is established that Bolla and Aponte, in fact, attempted to rob the motel.

In general, a person may use reasonable force to defend himself from physical attack. However, in order to 'legally' assert the Defense of Self-Defense, a person may use no more force than is necessary in all of the circumstances to defend himself. Unreasonable or excessive force, for example, could turn someone who was defending himself into the aggressor.

One of the key issues, therefore, in the Manslaughter case against Walling by the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office is the number of stab wounds inflicted to the deceased. The prosecutor might argue, for example, that evidence of multiple stab wounds is indicative of Walling being the aggressor, and not acting in self-defense.

Either way, it will be interesting once more details are released and how this case unfolds...

Continue reading "Wareham Man To Be Arraigned on Manslaughter Charges for Killing Two Others at Wareham Motel" »

January 8, 2011

Two Men Charged with Unarmed Robbery of Everett Bank

Robert Giannino, 34, of Medford, and James Gordon Chase, 48, of Lynn, have both been charged with Unarmed Robbery for the attempted robbery of Century Bank in Everett last Thursday. Both men are scheduled to be arraigned in Malden District Court Monday morning.

The Middlesex County District Attorney's Office and Everett Police report that a robbery at Century Bank in Everett was in progress at 2:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon when officers responded. Upon the arrival of Everett Police officers, Giannino allegedly fled through a parking lot and into a waiting vehicle, allegedly driver by Chase, who allegedly accelerated toward the officer. With the vehicle speeding towards him, the Everett Police officer fired at the vehicle, striking Chase. Chase is also likely to be charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon for allegedly accelerating towards the officer with the car.

The car got away, but was eventually tracked to a home in Saugus, where Chase was located. He was eventually transported to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to be treated for his injuries.

According to the Everett Police department, Giannino allegedly got out of the car sometime prior to it reaching Saugus. He was ultimately picked up by police later that evening.

Unarmed Robbery:
In Massachusetts, Unarmed Robbery is defined as the crime where one steals or takes from another money or other property by force and violence, but where the person is not armed with a dangerous weapon.

The penalty upon conviction for the crime of Unarmed Robbery is commitment to state prison for any term of years up to life.

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January 7, 2011

Chelsea Woman Charged with Arson and Murder for Christmas Eve Fire

Melissa Pfeiffer, 26, of Chelsea, Massachusetts, was arraigned and held without bail on charges of Murder and Arson for the Christmas Eve blaze at 295 Spruce Street in Chelsea that killed 20 year old Crystal Lynn Blanchard.

According to the Chelsea Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Pfeiffer, after an argument with her boyfriend, allegedly set his clothes on fire. The boyfriend had left the apartment to cool off, but when he returned, he found that his clothes had been set on fire. The fire, however, spread through their apartment building and grew to a three alarm fire that caused severe damage to the apartment building.

In a neighboring apartment, Crystal Lynn Blanchard was trapped inside; unable to escape, she eventually died within the apartment of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. Her boyfriend, however, managed to jump from a second story window but did suffer from severe burns.

The crime of Arson is defined as the willful and malicious setting of fire or causing the burning of a dwelling or building of another. In Massachusetts, the crime of Arson is punishable with up to 20 years in state prison.

In order to be convicted of Arson, willfulness and malice are required to constitute the state of mind necessary to commit the criminal act of Arson. The word willfully means that the act was intentional and by design, rather than an act that is thoughtless or accidental. In other words, a person acting willfully intends both his conduct and the resulting harm.

With this in mind, it may be difficult for Suffolk County prosecutors to obtain an Arson conviction against Melissa Pfeiffer in this case. Despite her allegedly setting her boyfriend's clothes on fire was stupid, there is a real issue whether she intended the building to be burnt as a result...

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January 6, 2011

Lawrence Man Charged with Murder of 4-Month Old Son

The death of Alexis Medina Jr., 4 months, was initially believed to have been caused by Shaken Baby Syndrome by his father. Now, Essex County Prosecutors have charged the father, Alexis Medina, with Murder, alleging that he suffocating his son to death.

According to prosecutors and the Massachusetts State Police, Medina allegedly "intentionally" shoved the baby's face into a pillow last Tuesday morning. He died the following day at Tufts Medical Center in Boston after doctors found him "brain dead". An autopsy by the Medical Examiner's Office also showed that the child had 11 'healing' rib fractures.

Following his arrest, Medina spoke with Massachusetts State Police and stated that while the infant was facedown in his crib, he pushed down on his back in an effort to quiet him and get him to sleep. A few hours later, the Medina's mother returned from work and found the infant not breathing, at which time 911 was called.

Medina also allegedly told police that he "roughhoused and wrestled" with the infant so much so that he could have broken the baby's ribs. He also allegedly admitted yanking on the baby's arm so hard until he heard a "snap" in his shoulder.

Alternatively, Medina's defense team will likely argue that Medina did not intentionally suffocate the child to death, and that the child couldn't have died of suffocation because first responders were able to revive him.

Alexis Medina was arraigned in Lawrence District Court this past Tuesday on Murder Charges and was held without bail. At his arraignment, however, Essex County prosecutors described that he was previously convicted for Crimes of Violence against his daughter when she was 6 months old. In that incident, Medina was committed to the House of Corrections for 18 months and ordered to undergo anger management and parenting classes. He was still on probation for that case.

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