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.

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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...

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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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January 5, 2011

East Boston Man Charged with Beating and Robbing Girlfriend of Cell Phone

Paul A. Morani, 23, of East Boston, Massachusetts, was arrested this past weekend for allegedly beating and robbing his own girlfriend because she broke his cell phone during an argument. Morani was formally with Armed Robbery and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

According to the Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Morani allegedly beat his girlfriend with a knife and punched her several times int he face. He also allegedly demanded she give him $200 and threatened further violence if she did not give him the money. The girlfriend ultimately walked into Boston Police Headquarters and reported the incident, from which she suffered multiple fractured ribs and injuries to her face and wrist.

Morani was not immediately charged in July because his whereabouts were unknown. He was believed to have gone to New Hampshire and even Las Vegas. An anonymous tip this past weekend, however, led Boston Police Officers to the Comfort Inn on American Legion Highway in Dorchester where he was arrested.

Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon:
In Massachusetts, the crime of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon is punishable with imprisonment to the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years; or to state prison for up to 10 years.

In order to be convicted of the crime of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, the prosecutor at trial would have the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant intentionally committed an unwelcome touching, no matter how slight, with a dangerous weapon. In this regard, the prosecutor would have to prove that the touching was intentionally, and not accidental or negligent.

For purposes of the crime of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, it is irrelevant whether there was any intent to cause injury, nor whether any actual injury resulted. Rather, any slight touching, so long as it was done with a dangerous weapon, is sufficient.

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January 4, 2011

Two Men Arraigned in Lowell for New Year's Even Murder

Jameson Phoun, 20, and Sothy Voeun, 19, both of Lowell, Massachusetts, were arraigned yesterday morning in Lowell District Court on charges of Murder for allegedly shooting spraying a New Year's Eve Party with gunfire that ended up with a young female dead.

According to the Lowell Police Department and the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, Phoun and Voeun, allegedly kicked down the door at a Lowell apartment and began shooting into a crowd of approximately 25 partygoers.

The victim, Corinna Ouer, 20, was shot in the stomach and later succumbed to her wounds. Seven other people were also shot but have survived the attack.

According to Middlesex County prosecutors, both men initially went to the party because Phoun believed that his ex-girlfriend was there. The men, however, were both kicked out of the party but later returned with guns and began shooting. Phoun allegedly began firing from a .22 caliber rifle; while Voeun stood by the door with a rifle also in his possession.

Both men are expected to be held without bail on charges of First Degree Murder.

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January 3, 2011

Malden Man Arrested for Assault & Battery and Unarmed Robbery in Boston Train Station

Joseph McCloskey, 40, of Malden, Massachusetts, allegedly assaulted and robbed a man from Arlington last week while he was standing on the train platform at the Downtown Crossing Orange Line Station.

According to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department, McCloskey ran off with approximately $200 from the man. As the man chased McCloskey, however, McCloskey suddenly and without warning turned and punched the Arlington man, and the two fell into the train tracks. MBTA employees immediately shut down the third rail.

McCloskey was arraigned yesterday morning in the Boston Municipal Court on charges of Unarmed Robbery and Assault & Battery. Following his arraignment, he was held on $5,000 cash bail.

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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...

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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.

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