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Proof of Domestic Violence with a Dangerous Weapon in Massachusetts

showerIn a recent Massachusetts criminal case, a defendant appealed after being convicted of rape, assault, and battery with a dangerous weapon. The case arose when the defendant started dating the victim, and the victim moved into his apartment, where he lived with a male roommate. Soon afterward, the defendant and the victim started arguing, and these arguments turned into physical fights. The victim would later testify that the defendant physically abused her each week within months of her moving in.

After one argument, the roommate asked the defendant and the victim to leave. When they left, they went to the victim’s car outside the building. Inside the car, the defendant strangled and hit her. The police came, and the assault stopped. The victim would later testify she didn’t tell the cops what happened because the defendant made her feel guilty for getting him in trouble. There was no arrest. Shortly after that, the victim saw the defendant texting another woman. She told him the relationship was over and locked herself in the bathroom and got in the shower. The defendant broke in with a knife. He took off his clothes and got in the shower and smashed her head against the shower wall three times.

The police responded to a domestic violence report. The officer saw the victim crying in the bathroom. There were unattached pieces of hair on her shoulder. He arrested the defendant.

The defendant was charged and tried. When the Commonwealth closed its case, the defendant asked for a required finding of not guilty on the assault and battery charges. He renewed this motion after all of the evidence was presented, but the motion was denied. The defendant appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to support the verdicts on two counts.

The appellate court explained that to prove assault and battery beyond a reasonable doubt, the Commonwealth had to show enough evidence to prove the intentional and unjustified use of force on someone else’s person, however slight, or the intentional commission of a wanton or reckless act resulting in a physical or bodily injury to someone else.

The defendant argued that the only evidence the jury could have considered was the victim’s testimony that the defendant hit or punched her every day. The appellate court disagreed, explaining that the victim’s testimony reasonably could have convinced the jury the defendant had committed assault and battery. Furthermore, the victim’s testimony had been corroborated by the cop who had responded to the assault in the shower. The cop had observed her crying with her eye and head swollen and with detached hair on her shoulder. The judge had explained to the jury that the weapon alleged in the charge of assault and battery was the shower wall, which made it clear that the shower incident was the basis of the charges for that date.

The court also reasoned that the victim’s testimony was enough to establish the elements of assault and battery, even if the precise date and time were incorrect, since the precise time and date were elements of the crimes charged. The judgment was affirmed.

If you are charged in Massachusetts with an assault crime, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy today to discuss the criminal charges. Call us at 617-367-0450 or contact us through this website.

More Blog Posts:

Assault and Battery Causing Serious Injury in Massachusetts, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published January 14, 2015

Receiving Stolen Property in Massachusetts, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published December 15, 2014