Christopher Nikas is being held following an arrest for his involvement in a stabbing incident. Authorities allege that on June 5, 2011 a stabbing occurred across from the public library in Newburyport. The person accused of doing the stabbing is Joseph Poaletta who was recently arrested for this case in Lynn, Massachusetts and arraigned two days ago. The fight was supposed to be between Nikas and Robert West and a location for the conflict was set. However, just prior to the arranged altercation Poaletta brandished a knife and threatened to use it on anyone who might interfere with the fight. One of West’s cohorts, Damian Dobson confronted Poaletta and told him that he was “not going to stick anyone”. Poaletta responded by stabbing Dobson one time in the stomach. Reports state that West and Dobson are members of a local street gang with Salisbury connections. Nikas has been charged with Accessory After the Fact, Armed Assault With the Intent to Murder and Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon. Both Nikas and Poaletta have criminal records and have served time. The case is pending in the Newburyport District Court. This case might be prosecuted in the Salem Superior Court.
Based on this article it is unlikely that Nikas will be convicted for the stabbing of Dobson. Poaletta is the principle in this case. Nikas’ cannot be held accountable for his actions unless the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Nikas was a joint venturer in these acts. To prove joint venture in this case the district attorney needs to convince a jury that Nikas intended the stabbing and that he acted in some extent in support of the stabbing effort. Both of these elements appear to be missing here. Nikas intended to fight West and vice versa. Poaletta’s threat with the knife was not something that Nikas had in mind nor was the actual stabbing of Dobson an act in which he participated. Additionally, there is nothing mentioned to suggest that Nikas did anything to support Poaletta’s act of stabbing Dobson. Any thorough Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney will obviously investigate these allegations but if the Newburyport News article is factually accurate Nikas may very well be acquitted of these charges. I am curious to know what West and Dobson have said to the police, if anything, relative to Nikas’ involvement in the stabbing. Along those lines, West might not be cooperative with the prosecution. His altercation with Nikas might rise to the level of criminal activity thereby giving him a privilege against self-incrimination. Given his gang involvement he may very well invoke this privilege.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman at 617-263-6800. You can also email us. We defend people accused of all crimes including crimes of violence such as these. There is always a defense to criminal accusations. Anyone charged with a crime needs a lawyer. Call us now. Let’s get started with your defense.