In a recent case a jury convicted a defendant of assault by means of a dangerous weapon. In the version of events that prevailed, Nathan and David came to the defendant’s residence in order to talk to Nathan’s then-girlfriend. The girlfriend had been living with Nathan but didn’t come home the night before. Nathan heard rumors she was at the defendant’s and drove there with David. When they drove onto the defendant’s property, they saw someone mowing the lawn.
They asked the man if the girlfriend could come out to talk to them. Nathan parked his car in the driveway, lining it up so the vehicle faced the street. Because of the tensions between him and the defendant and in order to stop the situation from blowing up, David left the car and approached the defendant’s house. Both men stood on the porch, while David asked to speak to the girlfriend and said he didn’t want trouble.
The defendant pushed David out of the way, came down the steps and approached Nathan speaking aggressively. The defendant pulled out a gun. The guy mowing the lawn told him to put it away. Nathan and David saw the defendant point the gun at Nathan who stayed still.
After ten seconds, the defendant opened the door of his truck and threw the gun in the vehicle. He told the two to leave. The two drove away and called the police. Nathan filed charges against the defendant in district court. The defendant called a neighbor who claimed he saw the whole thing and testified later that he only saw the defendant take the gun out of his waistband and put it into the passenger side of the vehicle.
The jury found the defendant guilty. The defendant claimed the evidence was insufficient on appeal. In a threatened battery case in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth must show beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant engaged in objectively menacing actions with the intent of making the victim fearful of immediately bodily harm. The Commonwealth must also show that because of this threatened conduct, the victim did experience reasonable fear of immediate bodily harm.
The appellate court explained that the defendant’s actions fit within the definition of a `threatened battery’ assault. The jury could rule, based on the available evidence, that the defendant used a firearm to intentionally trigger fear in Nathan. The Commonwealth had presented witnesses to said the defendant pushed David to approach Nathan, the defendant had said he ‘had some balls coming here,’ the defendant drew a gun from his waistband and pointed it at him for up to ten seconds and Nathan felt worried.
The defendant had claimed he didn’t mean to point the gun at Nathan, only to put it in the truck and that the gesture that looked like he pointed the gun only happened because he tried to transfer the gun from his waistband to the truck. However, the aggregate of the evidence favored the prosecution’s case and the hostility between the men supported a finding of wrongful intent. Accordingly the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
If you were arrested for assault, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy today to discuss your Massachusetts criminal charges. Call us at 617-367-0450 or through this website.
More Blog Posts:
U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Defendant in Mandatory Minimum Case Alleyne v. U.S., Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published December 19, 2013
Court of Appeals Ruling Affirms Prior Conviction Record Insufficient to Establish Identity, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published December 11, 2013