Good morning. This Boston criminal lawyer is back after a few days out of town. Sorry about the missed blogs. I try to get 5 per week up there, but the week kind of got away from me. I do hope you had a great, safe and law-abiding weekend, though.
Apparently, 37-year-old Gerald Sullivan (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) of Charlestown did not. He is headed to a Woburn courtroom to face charges for a Medford home invasion case that includes a count of Massachusetts murder.
Kind of hard to have a terrific weekend with that hanging over your head!
According to the Commonwealth, the Defendant was one of two people who forced their way into the Medford home in February intending to rob the occupants of money and jewelry.
Things allegedly did not go according to plan.
There was a struggle. The father and son who were inside ended up shot during that struggle. The father survived, but the thirty-seven-year-old son did not. He was taken to a hospital where he died.
Authorities say that the Defendant was tied to the crime through DNA evidence. The criminal investigation is still pending as law enforcement is still searching for the second suspect
Attorney Sam’s Take On Home Invasion And Murder
This story brings to light an issue which many people still do not realize.
You do not have to be an experienced Boston criminal lawyer to realize that the Defendant’s charges for murder are inevitable.
“But, Sam, what if it was an accident? Maybe it was self-defense since the father and son attacked the attackers.”
Sorry, not a defense. Under Massachusetts law, as is the case in most states, there is something called “Felony Murder“.
In other words, such a struggle was easily foreseeable when performing the felony of home invasion. Further, it will be assumed that the reason for breaking in was a felony in itself. Therefore, there is a certain amount of intent assumed .
However, what about the alleged soon to be co-defendant? What if it is determined that it was he who actually killed the son? If they never find him, is that a viable defense in this case?
Not likely. The name for this legal theory in Massachusetts is “Joint Venture”. The two burglars, whomever they turn out to be, acted together in the home invasion. Therefore, they can both be hold responsible for both the home invasion, murder and accompanying assault charges.
“But, Sam, what if one alleged perpetrator said to the other before the home invasion, ‘Hey, promise me we are not going to end up killing anyone or anything like that”.
Sorry, personal assurances notwithstanding, if they acted together in the home invasion, the law assumes they acted together in the murder and anything else that was the result.
It is kind of a simpler criminal conspiracy theory.
To view the article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/08/15/suspect_in_fatal_medford_home_invasion_in_court/