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) 492 3000.

Carolyn Riley’s Massachusetts Murder Trial Underway in Plymouth Superior Court

The criminal trial of Carolyn Riley, who is charged with the overdose murder of her 4-year-old daughter Rebecca, is underway in Plymouth Superior Court. While the prosecutor is depicting Carolyn as someone who refused to get her daughter medical help after overdosing her with clonidine in an attempt to get Social Security disability pay, her defense attorney argues that Carolyn is a concerned mother who gave her daughter medicine, as prescribed by a doctor, to treat her bipolar disorder.

Rebecca was found dead in her home on December 2006. Carolyn and her husband Michael were charged with first degree murder. Earlier this month, Carolyn’s criminal defense lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the charges saying there is new medical evidence supporting the couple’s claim that their daughter died from pneumonia and not from a prescription drug overdose. A judge denied the motion. Michael’s Massachusetts homicide trial will begin after Carolyn’s trial ends.

Among the witnesses that have testified against Carolyn so far is a social worker who says that she thought Rebecca was overmedicated. Also, the principal of the Elden Johnson Early Childhood Center says she saw Carolyn and Michael laughing outside the school just one day after Rebecca’s death. Yesterday, Kelly Williams, the Rileys’ former housemate, testified that Michael would demand that Carolyn overmedicate their three kids to keep them quiet. Williams says that as the 4-year-old’s condition deteriorated, she and her boyfriend James McGonnell kept telling Carolyn and Michael to take Rebecca to the doctor but that they kept putting off the visit.

Carolyn’s defense lawyers say she is a loving mother who did what she could to raise her three kids, all of whom suffered from hyperactivity and bipolar disorders.

The grief of a parent who loses a child cannot be quantified. To be accused of murdering a son/daughter is a severe blow.

Housemate details Riley child’s final night, Boston.com, January 23, 2010
Social worker warned that Rebecca Riley, 4, was overmedicated, The Boston Globe, January 21, 2010
Riley murder trial begins in Brockton court, The Daily News Tribune, January 20, 2010
Not a hard choice to have separate Riley trials, Wicked Local, January 17, 2010
Judge denies motion to dismiss murder charges against Rileys, Wicked Local, January 12, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Parents convicted of first-degree murder, General Laws of Massachusetts
Timeline: Rebecca Riley Murder Case, MyFox Boston, December 14, 2009
It is so important that the accused hire an experienced Boston homicide law firm that knows how to defend a defendant against such serious Massachusetts criminal charges.

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