Just last week the Quincy Patriot Ledger reported that if Brian Cherry survived the beating he took from Michael McGunigle he paralysis or blindness could result. The article stemmed from an incident that occurred on July 6, 2009 in Abington, Massachusetts. It was alleged that McGunigle left his dog tied to a vehicle outside a local restaurant for about an hour. The dog acted aggressively towards passersby and Cherry commented to McGunigle that the dog should be crated. The comment purportedly set McGunigle off. Witnesses then observed the defendant strike Cherry who fell to the ground and struck his head. Initially McGunigle was arrested and charged in the Brockton District Court with aggravated assault and battery and released on three thousand dollars cash bail. Unfortunately Cherry did not survive the attack. He died at a local hospital this past weekend. Now, McGunigle has been charged with Manslaughter. He has been indicted and will have to defend against these charges in the Plymouth County Superior Court. Earlier today McGunigle surrendered himself to authorities.
Articles about this case have suggested that the defendant has claimed that he acted in self-defense. Massachusetts law permits a person to act in self defense and use reasonable force to defend himself from a physical attack. Self-defense is a complete defense to manslaughter charges and if believed by a jury the accused will be acquitted. Once evidence of self-defense has been shown at trial the district attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self defense. This defense takes on a very different understanding when used in connection with a charge of manslaughter, voluntary or involuntary.
If you have been charged with a Violent Crime in Massachusetts you should contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney right away. It is important to act promptly, assert your rights and begin the defense of your case. If you have been charged with Manslaughter or any crime call Attorney Stephen Neyman at 617-263-6800 or contact us online.