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.

A Boston Homicide Trial And When To Talk To Investigating Police Officers

Do you think that homicide is a game only the young can play? Well, Verna S., a 65 year-old woman from Dorchester woman (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) would beg to differ. Yesterday, she was convicted in the May 2009 stabbing death of a 74-year-old man, Julius S.,(hereinafter, the “Deceased”) in the apartment they shared in Dorchester, according to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

Sewell had been free pending the trial, but Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano ordered her held once the guilty verdict was delivered. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday. She was apparently found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, not the Second Degree Murder charge she originally had been charged.

Her sentence can run from probation to 20 years in prison.

The police were alerted to the armed assault after the Deceased called 911 to report that he had been stabbed by a woman who then left his apartment. He told a dispatcher he had removed the knife from his chest. He was dead by the time police responded to his home. His cell phone and a bloody steak knife were found next to the chair.

The Defendant came to the notice of police when a Boston police homicide detective, taking a break from investigating the crime scene, came upon her at a nearby bus stop. The detective recognized her as fitting the description of a woman who had been staying with the Deceased. If that were not enough, he also noticed that she had blood on her clothes.

The Defendant then told police that she had been in the building with a man who struck her with a brick and that they struggled with a knife. In later statements, she said that the Deceased had been drinking and he attacked her with a knife. She told police she never had control of the knife and that the Deceased was somehow stabbed in the struggle.

An autopsy indicated, however, that the Deceased died from a stab wound to his chest that was inflicted at a downward angle. He had also suffered a wound to his nose consistent with an injury from a sharp blade. Moreover, there was no sign of a struggle when first responders arrived in the apartment
Attorney Sam’s Take:

The Defendant’s fate illustrates something I often tell you about coming into contact with investigating officers when they are investigating You.

First of all, do not combat them or try to run from them. Second, do not try to outwit them. Believe me, they are smarter than you think they are and you are not quite as worldly as you think you are.

Officers have the law on their side when taking statements as long as said statements are volunteered or voluntary after Miranda rights have been given if you are in custody.

They are allowed to play dumb. They are allowed to be extra extra sweet. They are even allowed to lie.

People still seem to be surprised when I tell them this after they are in shock that they got charged with a felony after telling their tale to the very nice police officer who told them that they could go home as soon as they told their side of things.

In most cases, if the police are suddenly interested in your view of the world during their investigation into allegations against you…they are simply looking for icing to put on their prosecutorial cake. They have decided that you are guilty already most likely and they just want a statement that can be used somehow against you.

Like, for example, getting you to give conflicting accounts of what happened.

Yes, just like the Defendant.

If you are facing the threat prosecution and wish to discuss it with me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

To view the original story in which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://mobile.boston.com/art/34/news/local/breaking_news/2010/11/elderly_woman_c

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