The Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled to uphold the conviction of a man who was found guilty in 2017 of shooting and killing an 18-year-old Norton man in February 1994. The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office reported that the court’s unpublished opinion on Jan. 30. The man was convicted of murder in the second degree following a seven-day retrial. He was convicted of armed assault with the intent to commit murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 1995. He was granted a new trial after successfully arguing that his attorney had provided him with inadequate representation.
Prosecutors welcomed the ruling and pointed to the medical, forensic and ballistic evidence that they say linked the man to the crime. The victim was shot several times at the intersection of Newbury Street and Green Street in Brockton at about 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, 1994. He was rushed by paramedics to a nearby trauma center but succumbed to his wounds about 10 hours later.
The man was taken into custody shortly afterward when a second victim identified him as his assailant. The man was left a quadriplegic by the shooting and gave his trial testimony from a gurney. Police determined that the man shot his two victims to send a message to a murder trial witness. The Massachusetts Appeals Court decision brings closure to a case that dragged on for almost 26 years.
The long history of this case reveals how prosecutions of violent crimes like murder can sometimes be extremely difficult even when the evidence seems clear. This is why prosecutors who are assigned cases that garner a great deal of media attention may be eager to reach a plea agreement at the negotiating table. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could recommend a negotiated resolution if the terms offered by prosecutors are fair and the chances of prevailing in court are remote.