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Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network.
To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 206-1942.

Posted On: February 14, 2012

DOUGLAS MASS IS SCENE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MATTER THAT ENDS IN HOMICIDE

Here’s a sweet little tale for Valentine’s Day.

Allen M. Stilkey, 40, of Douglas, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was a married man until very recently. You see, he is alleged to have had a incident last week.

The result? His wife is dead and he is charged with her homicide.

The Defendant was no weakling. In fact, the 230-pound, 6-foot man was an arm-wrestler who, in 1995, was the International Arm Wrestling Federation Arm Wrestler of the Year.

According to the Commonwealth, the Defendant and his wife were engaged in a very heated argument. The argument is said to have included broken furniture and glass. A witness purportedly told police that “Allen Stilkey was threatening to kill her” and that Lisa Stilkey, the wife, had claimed her husband “had been beating and choking her for several months.”

Further, the Commonwealth indicates that the Defendant was threatening to killer her during a phone call that night.

The Commonwealth claims that the Defendant was on the first floor, when his wife ran to the second floor out of fear. She then threw a pillow out of the window and then jumped out herself. She was rushed to the hospital and declared dead. As she was en route, the Defendant allegedly barricaded himself in the home and refused to let police in. The police got a warrant and entered the home on Saturday, where they found evidence that “a violent struggle had occurred in the home.”

The Defendant was arraigned in Uxbridge District Court where he has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, assault and battery and threatening to commit a crime.

While the Commonwealth requested bail in the amount of $500,000, the court decided to hold him without any bail instead.


Attorney Sam’s Take On Manslaughter And Domestic Violence

While this case would likely be prosecuted as a homicide in any event, the fact that it is a domestic violence incident pumps up the public attention. For example, a criminal defendant facing manslaughter charges would not necessarily be held with no bail. However, I can tell you that the courts are getting tougher and tougher regarding the treatment of domestic violence cases…even if said charges are actually dismissed!

But that is a mutilation of fairness for another day.

“Sam, how could he be charged with manslaughter if he did not force her out of the window?”

Well, in a manner of speaking, the Commonwealth alleges that he did force her out. In other words, he frightened her so much by his violent behavior that she felt she had to escape or be killed by him and so she jumped out of the window, apparently, hoping the pillow would help cushion her fall.

“Is there evidence that he was upstairs at the time, approaching her?”

Not that this Boston Criminal Lawyer is aware of.

It is interesting to note that the Commonwealth does not allege that he actually pushed her out of the window. Nor did they ask that the Defendant be held without bail pending a “Dangerousness Hearing”.

While this case certainly grabbed the headlines, it may well be quite difficult to prosecute.

It would appear that the only witness is dead.

“But, Sam, there is the witness to whom the wife told about past beatings and threats”.

Yes, but there are evidentiary issues with that. First of all, it is pure hearsay. Even if the statements were admitted into evidence as exceptions to the hearsay rules, I would argue there is a relevancy issue.

He is not on trial for prior abuse. He is on trial for the charges stemming from that night. Of course, the Commonwealth would retort that the previous beatings and threats are what made her decide to jump out the window.

I am sure that the Commonwealth will call to the stand a witness who claims to have overheard threats that night over the telephone. Those threats can come into evidence and maybe things the wife stated as “excited utterances” which is an exception to the hearsay rules.

"Will that be enough to get a conviction?"

Well, first, the Commonwealth will want to get an indictment to take this matter to Superior Court. In order to do so, however, live witnesses will have to be presented to the Grand Jury. However, hearsay is admissible at Grand Jury proceedings and Grand Juries tend to do what the prosecution asks of them. In other words, there will likely be an indictment.

Finally, the Defendant did not do himself any favors by refusing to let the officers in. They were going to come in one way or another. He merely succeeded in giving the Commonwealth more ammunition to make him look guilty and argue that he is not a good risk for bail.

The only hope for this Defendant? He had best have an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows what he is doing!

In the meantime, I hope your own romances end much more happily.

Happy Valentines Day!

In order to view the original articles upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1403448&srvc=rss and http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1403271&srvc=rss