A Cohasset man was arrested for Massachusetts Murder Charges following the family brawl that ended in the death of his brother-in-law. The man was arraigned in Quincy District Court earlier this week and charged with Manslaughter.
According to the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, Cohasset police responded to the defendant's home and found him to be unresponsive. The victim's father told police that family were celebrating the man's birthday when he became loud and began swearing. One witness told police that the victim had gone into a rage and had hit someone over the head with a chair.
The defendant allegedly tried to calm him and the two began fighting, eventually putting the victim in a headlock. When the defendant released him, the victim was motionless and unresponsive.
Voluntary Manslaughter in Massachusetts is defined as murder but with mitigating circumstances the lessen a defendant's culpability for the act. Where both crimes of Murder and Manslaughter each require proof of an unlawful killing, the crime may be voluntary manslaughter if it occurred under mitigating circumstances; in other words, without malice.
Some examples of mitigating circumstances involving the crime of manslaughter could be heat of passion upon reasonable provocation; heat of passion by sudden combat; or excessive force in self-defense.
By contrast, Involuntary Manslaughter in Massachusetts is defined as the unlawful killing unintentionally caused by wanton or reckless conduct, which creates a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm will result to another. It may also be commission of a batter in circumstances that the person knows or reasonably should know endanger human life.
In either theory of manslaughter, it is an absolute defense if the person acted in self-defense or in the defense of another, which appears to be the case here.