Hello and Happy New Year, Massachusetts!

In case there be doubt, we are continuing on from where we left off, in terms of criminal justice, at the earliest possible time. In other words, as of January 1, 2013, the Boston area had its first homicide of the year.

The victim is said to be an, as of yet, unnamed 21-year-old man who was fatally stabbed. He was attending a house party when authorities say things spiraled out of control. Police did, of course, release the name of the suspect. He is 24-year-old Allston resident Brian MacDonald (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) . The Defendant’s arraignment is scheduled for today in Brighton District Court.

While the stabbing is said to have taken place at approximately 2:45am, Boston police Officer James Kenneally, a department spokesman, said that the Defendant was not arrested until later in the day. He indicated, however, that he had no information on what touched off the stabbing.

One neighbor, Alex Breski, 21, said he was at the house on Monday night for a New Year’s Eve party and left shortly before the stabbing. He also said that he returned when he heard screaming and saw the victim, a tenant of the house, lying in the snow and bleeding heavily from several wounds.

“His friends got their hands on the wounds,” he said. “There’s blood all over the snow … I was standing there the whole time, he wasn’t moving.”

He went on to say that about 30 people left the house and began running in different directions, and that a dispute over unwanted guests at the party may have preceded the stabbing.

He described the scene as “crazy”.

When police arrived, Breski said, officers ordered partygoers back inside so that officers could take witness statements.

Apparently, the street has a heavy student population and there were many parties that night. “This whole street’s partyville,” he said. “You literally don’t have to live in this neighborhood. You can walk down the street, and you can literally walk into people’s houses and go to parties.”

Another neighbor, Rashid Turner, 37, echoed Breski’s comments about the frequent parties in the area.

“I knew they would party even harder on New Years,” he said.

Of course, by early Tuesday afternoon, party-time was over. The police had sealed off the front entrance of the scene with yellow crime scene tape. Three cars were parked in the driveway, and police had blocked off much of the street.

City assessing records indicate that a Georgetown couple owns the home. A call to a number listed for the couple was not returned on Tuesday.

It is as of yet unknown whether the Defendant and the deceased knew each other, but a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said that the Defendant does not live at the address where the stabbing occurred.

Last year, Boston had a reduction in homicides. The number went down from 74 in 2010 and 62 in 2011. 2012 saw merely 58 homicides in Beantown.

We are off to a strong start for 2013 though. Another stabbing took place on Boylston Street early Tuesday morning. However, the stabbing victim did not die.

The stabbing is said to have occurred when he was stabbed multiple times after fighting with someone after 1 a.m. He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess, where he remained hospitalized on Tuesday afternoon. He is expected to survive.

He said it appeared that the victim and the assailant had a verbal altercation before the stabbing, which occurred in the 900 block of Boylston Street. It was not clear if they knew one another, or if the incident was related to any New Year’s revelry, according to law enforcement.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Parties And Murder

I suppose these incidents will give support to those arguing about gun control after the recent Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy. After all, no guns were used in these incidents…only knives.

Guns, knives and other weaponry have become commonplace in our society. As a result, getting into any altercation should be a big decision. One fight is all it takes, after all, for one person to wind up dead and another, or others, being accused of a homicide.

When a homicide like the one for which the Defendant has been accused takes place, it is typical that many witnesses were present. Often, however, these witnesses do not want to become “involved”. Depending on how necessary such witnesses are, such folks often find themselves facing charges themselves.

“What charges, Sam? Is it a crime to be present during a fight?”

No. However, it is illegal to lie to police. That is a felony. Further, it is not unusual to have some folks give contradictory stories. Sometimes, depending on what those stories are, and what law enforcement wishes to believe, some of the other witnesses find themselves being accused of being involved with a “joint venture” with an assailant.

The bottom line, of course, is to be careful. You know this. But do your kids? Kids often do not think, or even realize, of the risks that wait around the corner at the next party. These days, letting them blithely go on their merry way is a mistake.

Tomorrow, let’s discuss what happened at the Defendant’s arraignment.

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