Articles Posted in Murder

About 14000 years ago, I was a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York. The last bureau in which I worked was the Homicide Bureau.

The first case that I brought to trial was a drug-deal-gone-sour matter in which the defendant was alleged to have stabbed the deceased. While there was no physical evidence or eye witnesses that pointed to him,  and he had no prior record, there was but one particular piece of evidence against him.

He made a statement.

To him, it must have seemed a good idea at the time. He thought he was exonerating himself, or at least, making the killing accidental. You see, he had used a very small knife during the incident. Who could know that such a little thing could actually kill a man?

Well, I suppose we all do….now.

The defense brought a motion to suppress the statement. The motion failed.

The jury trial ended with a relatively quick conviction.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Reality Of Statements

As I mentioned yesterday, the issue of making statements is an interesting one. Many people still do not understand it. I often have clients who tell me that the police did not inform them of their Miranda Rights, and so the case must be “thrown out”.

Sorry, it is not that simple.

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As we discussed yesterday, Thirty-two-year-old Xavier Broughton(hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was arrested Tuesday in connection to the discovery of a dead body (hereinafter, the “Deceased”).

The Deceased had been missing and police were looking into the disappearance. On Monday night, law enforcement located the Deceased’s body in Worcester.

Apparently, the Defendant was approached and questioned. He decided to answer the questions and found himself arrested and charged disinterment of a human body and misleading a police investigation.

According to CBS , the prosecutors called his statement a “confession” at his arraignment. Said confession was allegedly that the Deceased was at the Defendant’s house for a party on January 7th and had overdosed on heroin. The Defendant apparently admitted that he had panicked and hid the Deceased’s body in an enclosed back porch, covered in boxes.

The Commonwealth also revealed that there is video surveillance showing the Defendant dragging the body of the Deceased. According to the prosecutor, the Defendant also said that the Defendant told police that the deceased stopped breathing while they were “partying together” on January 7th.

Unfortunately, according to the prosecution, the Defendant changed his story somewhat during questioning. Initially, he told police the Deceased had been at his house for the party but left the next morning. That was when police visited the Valley Hill Drive home after the Deceased’s family had reported him missing on January 9th.

According to officials, a tip brought them back to Broughton’s house.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Statements, Evidence And Damage Control

Well, some of the mystery about which we spoke yesterday are cleared up. Most notably is the basis f the charge regarding misleading the police.

“So, you no longer think that this could turn into a homicide investigation?”


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Sometimes,people get themselves in trouble because they were trying not to get in trouble in the first place.

For those of my older readers, I remind you of the case of the late ex-President Richard Nixon. For you younger readers, I bring you a tale from today’s news.

According to the Boston Herald , Xavier Broughton of Worcester, hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is now facing criminal charges. In fact, he is also facing being held without any bail options.

The 32-year-old Defendant is charged with hiding the body of a man who apparently died in the Defendant’s home. Today’s Dangerousness Hearing will determine whether he is a “threat to the community” . At stake is his liberty. If the court finds he is a threat, he will be held without bail.

The criminal charge facing the Defendant is disinterment of a human body and misleading a police investigation.

Police say that they found said body Monday under cardboard boxes and paper bags on an enclosed porch. The Commonwealth believes that the body is that of Justin Ramos, who was last seen at a party at the Defendant’s home on January 7th.

The Defendant allegedly told investigators that Ramos died of a heroin overdose and he tried to revive him.

An autopsy is underway.

The Defendant’s attorney says that today’s Dangerousness Hearing is not necessary based on the charges

The Commonwealth clearly disagrees.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Making Statements And Resulting Suspicions

This type of situation has many layers to discuss in it.

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Steven Avery, subject of the popular Netflix show “Making a Murderer,” was denied a new trial by a Wisconsin judge last week. Avery maintains his innocence in the 2005 murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. Despite the finding of new evidence in his case, the judge ruled that there simply wasn’t enough new information to sway the result in Avery’s favor. That being said, the judge was unaware of some key developments in the case. As such, Avery’s attorney has said that they are not giving up.

In June, Avery’s lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, filed a motion seeking a new trial. The motion, which consisted of more than 1,000 pages, claims that his conviction was based on false testimony.

The six-page decision to deny the motion, made by Sheboygan County Judge Angela Sutkiewicz, held that the motion not meet the standard for a new trial. Sutkierwicz went on to explain that the new evidence was too ambiguous to make a difference.

But Zellner has vowed to keep fighting. “We are filing an amended petition because we have additional test results and witness affidavits. The scientific testing is not completed,” she said. “We remain optimistic that Mr. Avery’s conviction will be vacated.”

Motion for New Trial vs. Appeal

In order for a convicted defendant to be granted a new trial, he or she must show that there is a reasonable probability that new evidence is strong enough to change the outcome. A motion for a new trial and an appeal are two entirely different things. For a new trial to be granted, there must be new evidence or evidence of injustice, such as juror misconduct. The following circumstances may warrant the granting of a new trial:

  • Jury misconduct
  • Court errors
  • Misconduct or prejudice on the part of the prosecution
  • Discovery of new evidence
  • Loss or destruction of trial record
  • Ineffective counsel

If any of the above scenarios exist, a new trial may be granted. In Avery’s case, the motion was requested on the basis of new evidence, but the judge didn’t consider the evidence to be compelling enough to grant the motion. If the court does not agree to vacate the past ruling in Avery’s case, he will have to file an appeal, which may or may not be successful.

Where a new trial provides the opportunity to have your case heard again by a new jury, an appeal is an opportunity to have a higher court review your original case for certain mistakes. It is not a new trial, and you cannot present new evidence. A MA criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights if you feel that you have been wrongly convicted of a crime. Continue reading

In 2014, then-17-year-old Michelle Carter allegedly encouraged her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy IIII to commit suicide. She did it through text. Earlier this week, Carter’s manslaughter trial commenced, with prosecutors arguing that the now-20-year-old Plainville woman’s texts urged Roy to take his own life.

Both Carter and Roy had a history of mental illness. In fact, Roy had attempted suicide in 2012. But what could have possibly motivated Carter to send such damning texts to her boyfriend? Prosecutors claim that she was lonely and did it to improve her social life. According to testimony at the trial on Tuesday, Carter sent the following text to a friend, Samantha Boardman:

“Yeah I have school friends that all say they love me . . . [but] no one ever asks to hang out with me. No one ever calls me or texts me. It’s always me who has to do it.’’

To another friend, Carter texted: “Stop telling me how wonderful and beautiful I am. Beautiful girls get invited to parties and their friends call and wanna hang out . . . I have like no friends. I am alone all the time.”

Is it possible that Carter believed she’d finally get the attention she craved in the wake of her boyfriend’s tragic suicide? In yet another text to an acquaintance who claims not to know the defendant well, Carter wrote, “I was on the phone talking to him when he killed himself.” A MA defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if you have been charged with manslaughter or any other crime.

What is Carter’s Defense for Her Actions?

Carter has been struggling with mental health issues for years. As such, she was taking the prescription drug Celexa for depression when she encouraged Roy to commit suicide via text. Studies have shown that Celexa, the brand name for citalopram, is known to cause “impulse control issues,” which may have contributed to Carter’s “lashing out,” and other abnormal behaviors. If this is true, the young woman’s actions may have been out of her control. Carter and Roy had actually bonded over mental health struggles. In fact, according to Carter’s defense attorney, she had previously attempted to convince Roy to seek psychiatric treatment.

Although the Celexa may have contributed to Carter’s behavior that day, her behaviors following Roy’s suicide have not helped her case at all. According to text records, she texted Lynn Roy, her deceased boyfriend’s mother, multiple times in the days following his death. In these texts, she expressed sympathy and a desire to help, but she conveniently left out any knowledge of Roy’s plans or information about their conversations leading up to his death. Despite several text messages urging Roy to kill himself, Carter texted the following message to Roy’s mother after his death:

“You tried your hardest, I tried my hardest, everyone tried their hardest to save him. But he had his mind set on taking his life.” A Boston defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you are facing criminal charges. Continue reading

The judge’s comments were on the money and everyone should recognize it. Not knowing it could end your life one way or another.

The judge is Suffolk Superior Court Judge Mitchell H. Kaplan. He just presided over a murder trial. The case was the Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Peter Castillo (hereinafter, the “Defendant”).

The Defendant is the 28-year-old man who was charged with fatally shooting Stephen Perez, Jr. in order to settle an early morning insult-fest between the two strangers as they headed to their cars at closing time.

Perez had just returned from two terms of duty in the military. He was a sniper who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and was on a waiting list to enter the Revere police academy. His death came 10 days before his 23rd birthday. He lived in Revere.

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I have been bouncing back and forth between the Boston Police Union vs. Body Cams follies and the return to…that other Department…in terms of topics for the blog this week.

I think, as a prelude to both, I should bring you a case in which the Supreme Judicial Court has just agreed that Mr. Sean Ellis (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) should be granted a new trial.

According to the Boston Herald , the Defendant was charged with shooting and killing Police Officer John Mulligan at approximately 3:30a.m. on September 26, 1993. The Defendant was convicted after trial in 1995.

According to the Commonwealth, Officer Mulligan had been on a security detail at the time. Allegedly in his car, asleep.

For some reason, the case was tried several times before he was finally convicted in 1995 and sentenced to a life sentence.

As it turned out, however, there were issues which dwelled beneath the simplistic view of the shooting which the Commonwealth wished to share with either the jury…or the defense.

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Well, apparently, we are actually getting started.

The Boston Police Department’s body camera pilot program is now being launched with 100 officers selected by a department consultant after none volunteered.

Ruffled blue feathers? Maybe.  But progress has been made according to Boston University’s NPR station, WBUR,

The six-month trial starts today with two days of training. It goes live next month.

The 100 officers are  said to be racially and gender diverse.  According to the police department,  55 of them are white, 29 are black, 13 are Latino and 3 are Asian. Eighty-seven of the 100 are men.  You can figure out how many are not,

The officers are scheduled to patrol some of the city’s high-crime neighborhoods, college student enclaves and tourist hotspots.

Activists had called for this program for a while, since  the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, two years ago.

Controversy dogged the start of the program, however.  Some of that still exists as the  NAACP has questioned why a disproportionately high number of black officers are wearing the cameras, while others wondered why the largely Latino East Boston neighborhood is not included

And so it goes.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Perspective…Blue And Darker

“Sam, what’s the big deal here?  Why is this so important?”

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You have undoubtedly heard about the horrifyingly tragic and monstrous mass murder which took place at Pulse in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen, now deceased, committed the deed, leaving behind 49 people dead and 53 injured.

There seems to be no doubt as to either the despicable act or the identity of the shooter.

Mr. Mateen, however is dead and so beyond the government’s ability to punish him further.

And so eyes turn to his wife, 30-year-old Noor Zahi Salmon.
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We are going through a rather bumpy ride through this political season. Insults are being handed out like candy, including against the Commander-In-Chief. However, there are limits (at least, as to most presidential candidates) which folks are supposed to know they cannot breach.

Do you know what they are?

Alex Hernandez, 31 and hereinafter the “Defendant” may have missed that particular memo.

The Defendant, an inmate at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, has been charged with threatening to kill President Barack Obama.

The charges were brought Monday with two counts of threatening to kill the President and inflict bodily harm upon him.

You may be wondering how in inmate in state prison got out to threaten the President.

Well, actually, he didn’t.

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