Many Boston area residents, workers, students and tourists were interrupted on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 when four people were stabbed on busy, downtown Beacon Street. The area, known as a local hotspot, became an area of chaos and confusion when four people were stabbed just after lunchtime across the street from the Omni Parker House. The Boston Globe reports that the stabbings stemmed from a murder trial underway at the nearby Suffolk Superior Courthouse. The stabbings were reportedly in connection with the murder trial of Kadeem Foreman and Terrell Rainey, who are charged with the May 22, 2010, murder of 24-year-old Toneika Jones. The two were charged with murder, armed assault with intent to murder, and gun offenses in Dorchester District Court after they allegedly shot Jones to death inside the foyer of a building at 183 Harvard St. All four of the men stabbed had been present at the day’s earlier proceedings, and two of which are said to be on the witness list for the trial.
Following the tumultuous incident, the Judge presiding over the case issued a continuance for a trial, nervous that the incident could set a dangerous precedent for future judicial proceedings. As reported by WCVB Channel 5, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Lisa Giles said that she was “outraged that this could set a precedent that all you have to do to derail a first-degree murder trial is attack one of the participants who are supporters of either side.” The attorneys for the defendants were split as to the decision to move the date for trial. Michael Doolin, defense attorney for Foreman, deemed it a necessity that the trial be postponed due to the severity of tensions stemming from the trial. But Rainey’s attorney, Stephen Weymouth, argued that the trial should proceed as not to delay the potential declaration of innocence for his client. Currently, the trial is set to resume on September 12, 2012.
The wake of this violent event has urged local police and officials to take precautions and step up punishments for the crimes of assault and witness intimidation. Law enforcement official assert that the protection of witnesses and those involved in trials of any kind need to be protected to ensure that justice is rightfully ensued. The crimes of assault and witness intimidation are taken very seriously in Massachusetts, as the crimes are usually of a physical nature and can end in fatal injuries. Intimidating a witness, as per M.G.L. c. 268, s. 13B is a criminal offense in the Commonwealth, and carries with it penalties of imprisonment in jail or house of correction for no more than 2.5 years, imprisonment in state prison for no more than 10 years, by a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 up to $5,000, or by both fine and imprisonment. Conduct that can constitute intimidating a witness is behavior such as threatening or attempting to cause physical, emotional, economic of property damage to, bribery, and misleading, intimidating or harassing any person who is a witness, judge, juror, attorney, or anyone involved in furthering the criminal proceedings or investigation. If you are involved in the crime of intimidating a witness, you may also be charged with the crime of assault.