On January 28, 2007 Herman Irene flagged down a cab on South Broadway in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The cab driver, Bienvenido Rodriguez already had a fare but agreed to let Irene sit in the front seat and drive him a short distance for five dollars. The passenger heard Irene and Rodriguez argue in Spanish. Irene then brandished a knife, robbed Rodriguez and fled from the cab. That is when Rodriguez took out his gun and fired a shot into Irene’s back. The passenger witnessed the robbery and the shooting. Irene was charged with armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon. Prior to trial he was offered a 5-7 year sentence. Irene rejected the offer, went to trial in Salem Superior Court and lost. He was just sentenced to 15-22 years in state prison. He will have to serve at least 15 years of this sentence before he is eligible for parole.
The prosecution did attempt to charge the cab driver with armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and discharging a firearm within city limits. The case was presented to an Essex County Grand Jury. The grand jury did not return a bill. The result is that there was no prosecution against Rodriguez.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 17 defines the crime of robbery in Massachusetts. The statute requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was 1) armed with a dangerous weapon, 2) that he assaulted someone, 3) and that he stole or took from that person property or money. The crime is punishable by up to life in prison. If the person was masked during the commission of this crime he must serve a minimum mandatory 5 year prison sentence for his first offense and a mandatory 10 year sentence for his second offense. If the offense is committed with a firearm there is a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence for first time offenders and a 15 year mandatory sentence for second and subsequent offenders.
Our office frequently handles armed robbery cases. Attorney Stephen Neyman has successfully defended people charged with armed robbery on multiple occasions. If you have been charged with armed robbery or any violent crime in Salem or any other part of Massachusetts call our office now to discuss your case.