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.

MENTALLY ILL PEMBROKE MAN IS ARRESTED FOR THREATS, ASSAULT WITH INTENT TO MURDER AND ASSOCIATED CHARGES IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE

…But then again, maybe it isn’t kids making threats these days.

William Rearick, 45 of Pemroke (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) pleaded not guilty today in Plymouth District Court. He stands charged with making threats in a fairly threatening manner. The Commonwealth contends that he doused his girlfriend’s two children with gas and threatened to blow up the house where they were all living.

This was no mere twitter threat (see yesterday’s blog). Most of all, he is alleged to have had the means to carry out the threat. There is, however, a twist to indicate this is not simply the story of an evil trouble-maker just looking to get revenge or something of the like.

The Defendant, according to the police report, has a history of mental illness. The neighbors say he could neither speak nor hear. They say that he lived in the home with his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s two children, a child of his own, and the girlfriend’s mother. The neighbors said he was very attentive to the children and they communicated with him using sign language.

The allegations are that the Defendant entered the Birch Street home Wednesday afternoon with a gasoline can and a propane tank. He is said to have tried to use a lighter to ignite the propane gas, saying he wanted to kill himself, according to the police report filed by Pembroke Police Sergeant William Hinchey.

He is then said to have struggled with his girlfriend’s two daughters, pouring gas on them, then poured gas all over the kitchen floor.

When the police arrived, they found the mother and two daughters standing in the driveway. The Defendant was found in a basement bedroom. The officers say that he again threatened to ignite the propane tank, the report said.

“[The Defendant] seemed very depressed and upset and at one point I thought he was going to light the tank,” Hinchey’s report said.

The standoff with police was defused after the Defendant’s brother-in-law arrived and communicated with him in sign language. The Defendant was then taken to Jordan Hospital in Plymouth for evaluation.

The children required medical attention, Pembroke police said. No further information on their condition was immediately available.

The Defendant faces two counts of assault with intent to murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and charges of domestic assault and battery, threatening to commit murder, and vandalism. He was ordered held without bail, pending a February 6th mental evaluation hearing. He wore a white jacket in court today and had a confused look on his face.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Threats, Assaults And Mental Instability

You do not need an experienced criminal defense attorney to tell you that this is a very sad case. I will suggest to you that, assuming the allegations are true, it seems as if everyone did as they were supposed to do given the scant circumstances about which we know.

The problem is where we go from here.

It would seem that there is a mental issue of some sort which caused the behavior. There is no doubt that the behavior could have ended up deadly…whatever the intentions might have been. As it is, the mother and children are, emotionally, scarred.

So…is this simply a clear cut case of someone we bring to trial and maybe lock away for a whole lot of years? Will that solve the problem or make it worse?

“Sam, clearly he is a threat to society and so has to be locked away.”

Really? Do you really picture him in your mind’s eye when you ponder the word “criminal”?

“It does not matter. As you said, he could have killed someone”.

This is true. However, I would suggest that whether he had criminal intent or his actions were a result of his mental instability does matter. In fact, our criminal justice system’s basic framework tells us that it is supposed to matter. This is why there are things like insanity defenses. Further, it is one reason we look to sentences in many cases in terms of rehabilitation. We are supposed to do what is fair.

Yes, we are supposed to protect ourselves as well.

Well, we could debate this issue. I would love to debate this issue. This is not the place to debate this issue.

My job here is to let you know what is likely to happen and how our system handles these things.

The bottom line is, when the dust settles, what is going to happen. Right now, the Defendant is held without bail. Very likely, after his evaluation, he will continue to be held without bail after a dangerousness hearing. That’s right…in jail. Not a hospital.

And so the situation gets worse because, at some point, this man will be released.

How safe/dangerous do you think he will be then?

The charges the Defendant faces are extremely serious.

Well, the only chance for a chance at a decent outcome is a very good and experienced criminal defense attorney. I have handled a number of these types of cases. It is going to be an uphill battle to get the Defendant out and to help.

It is going to take some personal attention from the right lawyer!

For the rest of you, though, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/01/10/pembroke-man-allegedly-threatened-blow-gas-soaked-home/bhRkHpslqBQAXaBBvKEDdJ/story.html

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