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.

FITCHBURG TRAGIC CRIMES RESULT IN ONE DEAD CHILD, ONE INJURED CHILD AND TWO ARRESTED PARENTS

Sometimes, even though we may not know all the facts, it is clear that some horrible tragedy has taken place. Probably one that has something to do with distorted perceptions of some kind. By some body.

Either that or pure evil. But then, I do not tend to believe in “pure evil” in such situations. I’ve seen too much.

But I digress (already).

In Fitchburg District Court, the allegations were presented in open court. The event was the arraignment of mother Shana Pedroso, 37, and the children’s father, Marvin Brito, 38. After the hearing, the two were ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing next Wednesday.

The case involves a 6-year-old girl and her 9-year-old brother. The 6-year-old girl is dead.

The brother told police that he and his sister went out for a walk on Monday with their parents and two other kids. He said that when the parents left them, “he and his sister were attacked by bullies,” according to a police report.

The brother, according to the police, suffered “serious injuries and bruising to his face.” He also told officers his mother “had glued a wound on his neck closed with super glue,” and that his parents had told him not to call 911.

The sister was pronounced dead after being found unresponsive in the family’s home on Stoneybrook Road, where the children were home-schooled.

Police said they observed “extensive bruising of various ages over her entire body.” Her brother said she was unable to drink yesterday morning “and that his mother was mad.”

Police said that while booking Pedroso yesterday they found handwritten notes on her dated Monday saying “that the children were bad and beaten.”

According to the Boston Herald,  the mother is facing charges of assault and battery causing injury to her children and reckless endangerment of their lives. Dad was charged with permitting substantial injury to the children, in addition to reckless endangerment.

Prosecutors did not rule out further charges.

The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of the 9-year-old boy and said that the agency had no prior involvement with the family, adding in a statement, “The Department of Children and Families continues to assist law enforcement in the active investigation of this tragedy.”

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Case As It Is And Could Be

I suppose that the assumption here is that the mother’s note regarding the children being “bad and beaten” is a mere reflection of what happened. That the mother, perhaps unaware that any wrongdoing somehow was simply doing her job as a home schooling mother and keeping accurate notes of the day’s events.

Maybe. But then, I wonder if that, in itself, isn’t evidence of a break of reality of some kind.

You may be wondering why, if the little girl died, there are no homicide charges. It is probably because the prosecution wants to have a better handle of what went down before they pin that charge on one or both parents.

The way the case is reported, it seems as if the note by the mom is the lynchpin of the Commonwealth’s case.

That would be pretty risky. These events just happened. Do we really know who wrote that and what it meant? What if the “bad” the children did was to open the door to strangers who were bullies and beat the kids?

Far fetched? Maybe.

“Well, Sam, you also have the statement of the little boy.”

Yes, but I don’t think we know what to do with that yet. Were they out for a walk? Were there bullies? When mom is mad, does she hit or does she simply yell?

Bottom line, although this is a case that’s victims scream “horrible, evil crime here!”, we really do not know what took place.

I am willing to bet that if that note is the basis of the prosecution…well…it’s going to be a very difficult haul for whatever prosecutor is doomed to take this thing to trial.

And notice…we have not even really discussed the questions of an insanity defense.

In fact, there is a lesson right there.

As the defense will tell any jurors in a trial of this case, it is the Commonwealth’s burden to prove all allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense need do nothing. Thus, if the only evidence is the note, the question of such a defense may never even come up.

There is one thing that could completely change this entire scenario though. Let’s say that one or both of the parents, figuring themselves to be fairly competent and well spoken, decided to make a statement to law enforcement and “give their side of things”.

That, in and of itself, could easily make the Commonwealth’s case. I’ve seen it time and again.

So, you know the advice on that by now.

 

 

 

 

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