A Roxbury man was acquitted on Monday in the 1991 murders of his girlfriend and her friend. Reggie Knight was acquitted by a Suffolk Superior Court jury for the stabbing deaths of Michelle Paul, 24, and Henry Cowart, 50. The murders took place outside a housing development in Mission Hill where he is said to have bumped into them as they were getting back from purchasing cigarettes.
Knight had been indicted in 2003 for the stabbing crimes. Evidence against Knight was brought forward by his uncle and brother, who say that the defendant entered his brother’s house holding a knife while he had blood on his hands and declared “I did it” after the murders.
Knight supposedly became very angry when Paul refused to engage in prostitution to fund a crack cocaine habit. Paul and Cowart were found dead by stab wounds on the evening of December 15, 1991.
Knight’s defense attorney had maintained that Robert’s statements were not consistent with the statements made by Knight’s uncle, Jessie.
According to the defense, both men were trying to get leniency for the crimes that they had committed.
So far, the district attorney’s office in Suffolk has had eight homicide cases result in acquittals. 25 cases resulted in convictions.
In Massachusetts, the punishments for committing murder are very serious. Massachusetts defines homicide as the “willful killing of one human being by another.”
Penalties in Massachusetts for murder:
• First Degree Murder: Life imprisonment and without parole • Second Degree Murder: Life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years served • Involuntary Manslaughter, Voluntary Manslaughter, and Vehicular Homicide: Fines and up to 20 years in prison
Roxbury man acquitted in 2 killings, Boston.com, July 24, 2007
1991 murder case goes to trial, Boston Now, July 17, 2007
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Massachusetts Crime Rates
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