A twenty-eight year old Salem Massachusetts man, Michael Marino, will spend the next six years behind bars after pleading guilty to stabbing his mother’s former boyfriend seven times. According to The Salem News, Paul Goodwin told the Superior Court Judge that this situation was the most “horrifying thing in [his] life.” Goodwin wanted Marino to be sentenced to the maximum of thirty-five years, twenty years for the count of assault with intent to murder and fifteen years for count of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury. The prosecutor described the incident as a “brutal attack” and requested that the defendant be sentenced to a seven to ten year sentence. Superior Court Judge David Lowy imposed a six year sentence followed by a probation term when Marino is released from prison. Marino was ordered to participate in drug and alcohol counseling and attend an anger management class during his probationary period.
According to reports, the victim explained to the Judge that the defendant sliced his throat and then opened up his belly “like a fish.” Apparently, Goodwin, [who had previously received a restraining order against his former girlfriend and mother of the defendant, Brault] went to Brault’s mother’s house after she had been kicked out. As Goodwin and Brault were speaking, Brault received a phone call from her son, Marino who appeared at the scene. An altercation ensued that left Goodwin with lacerations to his liver, lung and diaphragm and fighting for his life. Defense counsel explained that his client did not land the first blow and was not sure what to expect when he arrived at the scene. Counsel further explained that Marino was under the influence of Klonepin and alcohol. The struggle landed Marino in jail and Goodwin in the hospital.
In many cases where a defendant is charged with a violent crime there are a number of defenses to pursue. Obviously, the type of defense that is mounted depends on the facts of the case. For example, if a defendant was not identified at the scene and the accuser and the defendant are unknown to one another, a defense of misidentification should be evaluated. That type of defense would not make sense in a case such as this because the parties knew each other.
Although all of the facts of this case are not known, it appears that if the case went to trial a viable defense would be that Marino acted in self-defense. In cases in which a defendant claims self-defense the Commonwealth must prove that beyond a reasonable doubt that an assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon occurred AND must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did NOT act in self-defense. However, in cases of self-defense and individual has the obligation to retreat if possible and can only use as much force as is necessary to defend oneself. Thus, the fact that Marino introduced a knife into the struggle could be problematic to the claim of self-defense. In these types of cases the size of the individuals involved in the altercation can be important as a slighter person may need to use more force to protect himself from a bigger, stronger person.
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