Stabbing Suspect in Boston Barroom Fight Pleads Not Guilty

This week, a Suffolk Superior Court judge will decide whether to set bail for Bernard Piscopo, 38, the man charged in the June 17 stabbing death of Adam Rich, 26, at The 6 House bar in Boston. Piscopo’s attorney is pushing for bail because the defendant has multiple sclerosis.

Rich died after someone stabbed him eight times all over his body, including his legs, stomach, chest, back, and hand. He was treated at Boston Medical Center. His friend, Thomas Browne, was treated at Massachusetts General Hospital. Browne received 40 stitches for his knife wounds. No one has been charged in Browne’s stabbing.

According to Piscopo’s defense attorney, his client is afflicted with multiple sclerosis and could not have possibly committed the crime. His lawyer says that the bar’s cameras and forensic evidence show that Piscopo was not involved in the fight.

Witnesses from that night say that there were two altercations between bar patrons before Piscopo, a Dorchester resident, allegedly pulled a knife from his pants. He is accused of stabbing Rich and another man.

Piscopo claims that the defendant does not drink because of the shots he is required to take to manage his multiple sclerosis. He has no criminal history and served in the U.S. army for nearly 10 years. Piscopo has a fiancé and two children.

The 6 House is under investigation because of its patrons’ behavior and also for complaints that it does not offer employees workers’ compensation.

The “Not Guilty” Plea
Under the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure, when a defendant is charged with a crime, he or she can only plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere. The option to plead innocent does not exist. A jury in Massachusetts is only allowed to render a verdict of not guilty or guilty. A person who committed a crime may be found not guilty for many reasons, including inadmissible evidence and by reason of insanity.

Bail Decision Due Monday in Barroom Slay, Boston, June 29, 2007
S. Boston Stabbing Suspect Pleads Not Guilty, Boston Globe, June 21, 2007
Not Guilty Does Not Mean Innocent, Massachusetts Bar Association

Related Web Resources:

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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