A 20-year-old homeless man says he is not guilty of the first degree murder of his 6-year-old cousin. The little girl, Joanna Mullin, was found naked and dead and wrapped in a blanket in the SUV that the man, Ryan Bois, was riding in when police apprehended him after a high-speed chase. Her body was wedged in the Ford Explorer’s backseat floor where police discovered it after Bois crashed his motor vehicle into a taxi. He then left the accident scene on foot and threatened police with a knife.
Bois pleaded not guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon against a law enforcement officer, murder, possession of heroin during arrest, and multiple motor vehicle violations.
He was arraigned on Monday at Quincy District Court and was ordered to remain in custody without bail. A psychiatric evaluation of Bois will take place at Bridgewater State Hospital.
When a person is tried for a crime in Massachusetts, a jury can only issue a not guilty or a guilty verdict. A not guilty verdict doesn’t necessarily mean the person is innocent; it means that the state of Massachusetts did not persuade the jury that the defendant was guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a first degree murder case, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant purposely and maliciously and illegally killed the victim. If the attorney for the defense can prove that the defendant did not maliciously kill the victim (even if the defendant killed the victim accidentally or as an act of self-defense), then the defendant is not guilty of first degree murder the way the state has defined it.
Other reasons that a jury might not find a person guilty of committing a crime:
• The defense can prove that the defendant did not commit the crime.
• The victim cannot properly identify the attacker.
• Tests proving guilt are deemed inadmissible during trial.
• The defense has a convincing alibi.
• The defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Man Charged with Murder in Death of Young Cousin, Boston.com, August 6, 2007
Not Guilty Does Not Mean Innocent,Massachusetts Bar Association
Related Web Resources:
Violent Crimes Overview, Justia
Homicide Trends in the United States, U.S. Department of Justice
If you have been arrested for committing a crime in Massachusetts, you should hire an experienced criminal defense team that can help you. Altman & Altman LLP has successfully worked with clients arrested for every kind of crime in the state and we are known for obtaining successful results.
Contact Altman & Altman LLP and ask for your free consultation.