Devin Joseph Sheehan-Powers of Boston was indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury last week following his arrest for a July 15, 2009 incident. According to reports Sheehan-Powers was observed by Lynn Police chasing down a disabled man while brandishing a knife. Law enforcement officers saw Sheehan-Powers then punch the victim in the face and steal his cell phone. The attack was described as brutal. The officers who witnessed the incident chased the defendant and were able to apprehend him shortly after observing the crime. He was found in possession of the knife and crack cocaine. Bail in the case has been set at ten thousand dollars. The case will now be transferred from the Lynn District Court to the Salem Superior Court. Sheehan-Powers has formally been charged with armed robbery, possession of cocaine, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, aggravated assault and battery, mayhem and resisting arrest.
The crime of mayhem in Massachusetts is proscribed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 14. The law states that the prosecution must prove that the defendant had the malicious intent to maim or disfigure the victim and that with that intent he “cuts out or maims the tongue, puts out or destroys an eye, cuts or tears off an ear, cuts, slits or mutilates the nose or lip, or cuts off or disables a limb or member, of another person”. Alternatively the prosecution can obtain a conviction for this crime if it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, possessing the intent to “maim or disfigure, assaults another person with a dangerous weapon, substance or chemical, and by such assault disfigures, cripples or inflicts serious or permanent physical injury upon such person”. A conviction of this crime carries a potential twenty year state prison sentence. The article suggests that the prosecution in this case will be proceeding under the second theory given the victim needed eye surgery at a Boston hospital.