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August 17, 2013

Waltham Man Charged with Murder in Stabbing Death


Jared Remy, of Waltham, was charged this week in Waltham District Court with Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the stabbing death of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel.

According to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, Waltham Police officers responded to a 911 call at Remy's apartment and found what they described as a scene indicating a struggle inside and outside of the home. Ms. Martel, according to police, was located on the patio outside with multiple stab wounds.

A neighbor, identified by the Boston Globe as Benjamin Ray, told the media he witnessed the incident; that Remy was repeatedly stabbing her with a knife. He told reporters that he tried to stop it but it wasn't enough.

Several reports have since surfaced that suggest that there had been prior incident of alleged domestic violence involving Remy and Jennifer Martel, including a pending Waltham District Court case for domestic assault & battery that Remy had reportedly been arraigned on earlier this week.

Remy pled not guilty to the Murder Charges, which is punishable by life imprisonment.

In Massachusetts, first degree murder can be charged where the act is committed with either deliberate premeditation and malice; or extreme atrocity or cruelty with malice.

However, some circumstances may present themselves in this case that might lessen this defendant's culpability for the alleged act. Some examples of mitigating circumstances may include heat of passion upon reasonable provocation; sudden combat; or excessive force in self-defense.

In order to be convicted of voluntary manslaughter, the prosecutor would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that (1) the defendant intentionally inflicted injuries likely to cause death; and (2) that the defendant acted unlawfully. The penalty for imprisonment upon conviction for voluntary manslaughter is commitment to state prison for up to 20 years.

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July 8, 2013

Evidence of Gang Affiliation in Massachusetts Criminal Jury Trials


In Commonwealth v. Akara, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court considered whether evidence of a defendant's "gang affiliation" was properly admissible in his murder trial on a theory of joint venture.

In that case, the defendant was charged as a joint venturer in the murder of Philip Gadsden at an MBTA station.

At trial, the government introduced evidence of the defendant's gang affiliation through the testimony of a Boston Police Officer. The officer testified that the Boston Police Department classifies any group or association of four or more people who call themselves by a group name and have various identifying signs, symbols or clothing. At trial, witnesses testified that the defendants were associated with a particular gang, but there was no evidence of any specific criminal activity by this gang other than alleged vandalism.

Notably, there was also no evidence of any motive for the murder or that the victim was associated with any "rival" gang.

Gang evidence may be admissible in criminal trials to show motive or to establish "joint venture". Although the gang evidence in this case did not go to establish motive, the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that it was properly admitted to establish evidence of the defendants' relationship, which in turn bolstered the prosecutor's theory of joint venture.

This is not to say that all evidence of gang affiliation is automatically admissible in criminal trials. Defense attorneys will make efforts to exclude gang evidence at trial, particularly where a defendant's purported gang membership is so prejudicial that it might suggest to a jury that he has a propensity to crime of violence.

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April 20, 2013

2nd Suspect Charged with Massachusetts Murder in Dorchester Stabbing


A second defendant was charged with Murder in connection to the October stabbing death of Cherby Lajoie in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The female defendant, Tarayiah Hunt, 21, of Dorchester, was formally arraigned in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court recently and charged with murder.

The victim in this case, Cherby Lajoie, was found on on Charles Street on October 6th just after 1:00 a.m. suffering from 37 stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, this defendant was allegedly identified in connection with this murder through DNA evidence at the crime scene and nearby surveillance video. Prosecutors also represented that police were provided with an anonymous tip identifying this defendant by her nickname, "Tip".

The other person first charged with murder on this case is a 15 year old juvenile, and he is the person prosecutors allege actually stabbed the victim.

In cases where the crime is committed by one actor, others may also be charged with the crime under the principle of aiding and abetting or joint venture. Under this theory of criminal law, a person may be guilty of a crime even if he did not personally commit the crime, but somehow aided and abetted in its commission.

In a joint venture, a person is guilty of the crime as a joint venturer if he intentionally participates with another in the commission of a crime as something he wishes to bring about and seeks by his actions to make it succeed.

In order to prove a defendant guilty of a crime as an aider and abetter, the government must prove that the defendant (1) was present at the scene of a crime; (2) had knowledge that another person intended to commit the crime and shared that person's intent; and (3) aided or assisted the commission of that crime; or by agreement, was willing and available to assist the other person in carrying out that crime if necessary.

In some circumstances, the government would not have to prove that the defendant was even present at the scene of the crime. In this scenario, the government would have to prove that the defendant actually aided in the commission of the crime or was an accessory before the fact of the crime by counseling, hiring or otherwise procuring the crime to be committed.

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March 14, 2013

Massachusetts Fugitive Arrested for Murder of Boston Father


A Massachusetts man wanted by the Boston Police Fugitive Unit was arrested on Murder Charges in connection with the death of a Boston man on Valentine's weekend in Mattapan.

The defendant, Kewon Kelley, was arraigned in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court on murder and firearms charges.

According to the Boston Police and Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, the victim, Rawshawn Lamont Few, 27, was shot in Mattapan on February 17, while he was at a party. Prosecutors and police believe that during an argument, the defendant pulled out a gun and shot Few.

The defendant was arrested in Brockton by Boston Police, U.S. Marshalls and members of the Brockton Police Department.

Interestingly enough, another man was suspected by Boston Police as having been responsible for this murder. Osmell Odena had previously been charged with firearms charges after his car was allegedly seen speeding from the area of the shooting. Prosecutors are now saying that Osmell Odena is not connected in any way to this incident.

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March 3, 2013

New Bedford Man Arraigned for Murder in Death of 9 Month Old Baby


A New Bedford man was charged this past week with Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the death of a 9 month old infant.

The defendant, Ethen Harrison, was arraigned in New Bedford District Court this past week on the upgraded charge of murder. He had previously been arraigned on various assault charges.

According to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, the defendant allegedly assaulted the infant in the apartment he shared with the child's mother. Although the two were reportedly living together, the defendant was not the biological father of the child.

New Bedford Police Officers reported that the defendant made some alleged statements following his arrest, including that he allegedly admitted that the infant because fussy and that he caused the child to hit its head on the floor. The child's mother reportedly left the child alone with the defendant.

The infant was found to have succumbed to blunt force trauma to the head and had a large blood clot on its brain.

Defendant's who are the subject of any criminal investigation, particularly those involving criminal charges as serious as murder, should think twice about discussing any part of the allegations with police prior to engaging the representation of a criminal defense lawyer.

There is a reason why police are required to read to a defendant his Miranda rights and specifically advise him that he has a constitutional right to consult with an attorney and that any statements he makes may be used against him in a court of law.

Although there are mechanisms to challenges whether any alleged statements were properly and constitutionally elicited, suppressing or excluding any admissions or inculpatory statements is extremely difficulty, particularly if the interview was video recorded. Typically, where a defendant has made inculpatory statements and the proper warnings were given, courts are reluctant to rule that the statements were not intelligently, knowingly and voluntarily made in light of the defendant's constitutional rights.

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March 1, 2013

Two Boston Men Charged with Murder of Roxbury Man on MBTA Platform


Two Boston men were arraigned on Massachusetts Murder Charges involving the shooting death of Courtney Jackson at the Dudley MBTA Station while he was waiting for the bus.

The two defendants, Brian Cooper and Jamel Bannister, were each arraigned in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court on charges of Murder and Gun Possession Charges.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, after an argument, the defendants pointed a gun at Courtney Jackson who was standing amongst a crowd of people at the Dudley MBTA Station. At the arraignment of the defendant, the prosecutor also represented that the entire incident was allegedly caught on video.

Two Boston Police Officers who were working a detail nearby the station alleged chased and arrested the two defendants shortly after the shooting. One of them was allegedly found to be in possession with the murder weapon.

Murder in Massachusetts is defined as the unlawful killing of another with either malice or in the commission or attempted commission of a felony, and is punishable by life imprisonment.

For example, 1st degree murder and those killings that occur with deliberate premediation and malice; with extreme atrocity or cruelty and with malice; or in the commission or attempted commission of a felony. An unlawful killing that does not meet these three criteria is murder in the 2nd degree.


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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 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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May 11, 2012

Massachusetts Man Charged with Manslaughter In Brother-In-Law's Death


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.

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March 7, 2012

Boston Man Arraigned for 2011 Jamaica Plain Murder


A 22 year old from Roslindale was arraigned yesterday on Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the stabbing death of Kenneth Soto, 19, in October 2011.

The defendant, Hector Soto, was arraigned in the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court on First Degree Murder Charges.

According to the Suffolk County D.A.'s Office, prosecutors allege that Hector Soto and Kenneth Soto were in separate vehicles with respective friends in the 7-11 parking lot on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. As Kenneth Soto exited the store, Hector Soto allegedly approached him the two engaged in a fight that resulted in the stabbing death of Kenneth Soto.

First Degree Murder in Massachusetts is the unlawful killing of another with deliberate premeditation and malice, and is punishable by imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.

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February 28, 2012

Boston Man Charged with Murder in Roxbury Shooting Death


Boston Police have arrested a Dorchester man and charged him with Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the shooting death of Anthony Depina in Roxbury last week.

Jason Barbosa was arraigned in Roxbury District Court yesterday on charges of First Degree Murder and Gun Crimes Charges.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Jason Barbosa allegedly encountered Anthony Depina in area where Depina wasn't supposed to be, in an alleged referenced to gang turf. A few hours later, Barbosa allegedly encountered Depina again, at which point he is alleged to have shot him in the chest and head.

Prosecutors allege that Jason Barbosa was linked to the crime scene by video surveillance, as well as a GPS device that he was reportedly wearing as a condition of his probation on an unrelated criminal matter.

Simply because prosecutors have alleged that Jason Barbosa was in the vicinity at or around of the alleged murder, that does not necessarily mean that he was the one who pulled the trigger or was otherwise in any way connected with this crime. It is still unclear if there is any other evidence, whether forensic, ballistics, or otherwise, that could more accurately connect Barbosa to this murder.

First Degree Murder in Massachusetts is defined as the unlawful killing committed with deliberate premeditation with malice, and is punishable by commitment to state prison for life.

Following his arraignment in Roxbury District Court, Jason Barbosa was held without bail pending his next court appearance.

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February 3, 2012

Boston Man Charged with Murder of Roxbury Woman


Eldrick D. Broom, 27, of Roxbury, was arraigned today in Dorchester District Court on Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the death of Rosanna Camilo on November 21.

Brook has been charged with First Degree Murder and Aggravated Rape.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Broom allegedly attacked Rosanna Camilo inside her Roxbury apartment. Prosecutors allege that he raped and strangled her to death. Camilo's body was found in her bedroom by her 16 year old daughter while her other 17 month old child was in his crib.

Broom reportedly had previously been arrested for allegedly assaulting his pregnant girlfriend, who reportedly lived in an apartment close to Rosanna Camilo's. In that incident, he had been charged with Aggravated Assault & Battery.

At this point, Broom has only been charged at the district court level, and prosecutors would not be very forthcoming with offering all the alleged evidence that may be known to them. Typically from this point forward, prosecutor would be presenting a presentation to the Grand Jury in an effort towards obtaining an indictment. If and when an indictment is returned, Broom will then be arraigned in Superior Court.

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December 9, 2011

Man Arraigned for Sexual Assault and Murder of Boston Woman


A man has been charged with Massachusetts Murder and Sexual Assault Charges in connection with the murder of Rosanna Camilo, whose naked was discovered in her Mattapan apartment two weeks ago.

Eldrick D. Broom, 27, of Boston, was arraigned this morning in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court with 1st Degree Murder and Sex Crimes Charges.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office alleges that Brook, who once lived across the hall from Rosanna Camilo, had access to her apartment through one of her former roommates and attacked her two weeks ago. Following the alleged attack and sexual assault, he then allegedly strangled her to death. Her body was reportedly discovered with a cord around her neck.

Rosanna Camilo's half-naked body was discovered by her 16 year old daughter when she came home - and her infant 17 month old son was still in his crib.

Broom was arrested this morning in Roxbury after Boston Police allegedly linked his DNA to the crime scene.

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December 1, 2011

Cambridge Woman Charged with Murdering Father


A 29 year old Cambridge woman was formally charged with Murder in connection with the death of her father, Guy Verna, 62, also of Cambridge.

Gylene Verna was initially charges with Assault & Battery with the November 20th incident that involved her father, Guy Verna, who was later pronounced dead at Cambridge City Hospital.

This past week, Gylene Verna was arraigned in Cambridge District Court, charged with First Degree Murder.

The Middlesex County District Attorney's Office alleges that Gylene Verna and her father had an argument that became physical when he struck her. Cambridge Police say that Gylene Verna then allegedly squeezed his neck.

The Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner's Officer reportedly determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation by manual strangulation.

If the evidence demonstrates that Gylene was first attacked, then she may very well have a Defense of Self-Defense.

Under Massachusetts law, a person may use reasonable force to defend himself from physical attack. At trial, once the defendant has raised the defense of self-defense, it is then the prosecution's burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant did not act in self-defense.

However, even where a person is entitled to use self-defense, the person may not use any more force than is reasonably necessary in all of the circumstances to defend himself. The question the jury will have to face in this case if self-defense is raise, is whether Gylene's actions in defending herself were reasonable.

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November 14, 2011

Weymouth Teen Arraigned in Quincy for Triple Murder


donald rudolph.jpgDonald Rudolph, arrested on Massachusetts Murder Charges, was arraigned in Quincy District Court this morning for allegedly killing his mother, Paula Rudolph, her boyfriend, Frederick Medina; and his sister, Caylin Rudolph.

Rudolph was arraigned on 3 counts of 1st Degree Murder and 3 counts of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

According to the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, Donald Rudolph allegedly stabbed Frederick Medina to death, cut his throat and then stuffed a baby doll in his mouth. He also allegedly stabbed his sister, Caylin Rudolph, several times; and allegedly beat his mother to death.

Weymouth Police Officers were called to the family's home last Thursday night after neighbors called police. On arrival, police officers reportedly observed Donald Rudolph to be covered in blood and hiding in the basement. He also allegedly told police "I fucked up...you will see when you go inside the house."

Following his arraignment in Quincy District Court on Murder Charges, Donald Rudolph was held without bail and sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental competency evaluation.

In Massachusetts, competency evaluations are conducted where there is a question of whether the defendant charged has the mental capacity to participate and assist his attorney in his legal proceedings. If, after evaluation, the court makes a determination that the defendant is not competent, i.e., unable to comprehend the legal proceedings against him and/or that he is unable to help in his defense, then he will be found incompetent.

Under Massachusetts case law, the standard is whether the defendant sufficiently "has the present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding - and whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him".

Notably, there is a legal difference between a defend who is found incompetent to stand trial and one who asserts an Insanity Defense. Whereas competency is relative to the defendant's state of mind at trial or during the criminal proceedings; insanity refers to his state of mind at the time of the alleged crime.

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