On Wednesday August 27, 2008 a drug deal went bad on Quincy Terrace in Lynn, Massachusetts and resulted in the murder of a 24 year old man. On August 28, 2008 a Lynn man was arraigned in the Lynn District Court on charges of murder. Court papers stated that the victim and two black males and a female went to Quincy Terrace where one of the group had been ripped off during a marijuana distribution transaction. An argument followed during which the defendant brandished a gun and scared the group away. The victim retrieved a firearm from his car and returned to the scene. A gun battle followed. When the police arrived they observed the defendant holding the clothes that witnesses saw him at the time of the shooting. They also saw the defendant lying dead on the ground with a .40 caliber handgun lying close by. A .38 caliber handgun was found at the rear of the Quincy Terrace apartment.
Arguing for bail the defense attorney told the judge that the victim fired the first shot and the defendant acted in self-defense. The judge in the Lynn District Court held the defendant without bail. Witnesses said that the defendant fired three shots. The defendant has been identified as Walter Clare. Read full article, Lynn Item Online, September 3, 2008.
Self-Defense in Massachusetts
Homicide in Massachusetts is excused if it is committed while acting in self defense. It is not the defendant’s burden to show that he acted in self defense. Rather, it is the obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense. You are allowed to use deadly force during a proper exercise of self-defense. However if deadly force was used you must have had a “reasonable apprehension of great bodily harm or death and a reasonable belief that no other means would suffice to prevent harm”. The person causing death must have reasonably believed that he or she was about to be killed and there was no other way to avoid the attack. However, prior to the exercise of self-defense you must have tried everything to avoid the combat. The victim’s reputation for violence comes into play if the defendant knew of this reputation. Recent acts of violence might also be considered by a jury when deciding a self-defense case.
Attorney Stephen Neyman has employed the theory of self-defense on several occasions and succeeded in getting his clients acquitted. If you have been charged with a violent crime in Massachusetts call our office now.
Related Web Resources:
Lynn Murder Case Defense Lawyers, Kathleen M. McCarthy