Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Assault with Intent to Murder: What Recent Boston Shooting Charges Tell Us

A shooting or a gun incident in Boston may result in a wide range of charges, and “assault with intent to murder” is only one possible example. What does this phrase mean? As with many legal terms, the definition may seem vague and uncertain to those unfamiliar with Massachusetts law. It may be especially imperative to gain an understanding of the phrase for those facing this charge, and a recent case in Boston provides important insights: 

The Definition of Assault With Intent to Murder

Armed Assault with Intent to Murder is a serious crime in Massachusetts. It involves the use of a firearm to carry out an assault, with either the goal of murdering or robbing the victim. An important aspect of this offense is intent. In order to face the consequences of this crime, the prosecution must clearly establish that the defendant intended to cause the death of the victim. This requirement presents a range of possibilities for defense strategies. 

Defendant Convicted Due to Apparent Plot to Frame Him

Although intent is an important element in trials involving assault with intent to murder, there is also a much more basic requirement: Positive identification of the defendant. If the prosecution cannot clearly establish that the defendant was, in fact, the person who carried out the crime, they are not guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. As a result, they must be acquitted. This is what one recent trial centered around in Boston. 

In September of 2023, the Superior Court wrote that a defendant was convicted of assault with intent to murder despite the fact that no one had been able to positively identify him as the shooter. The prosecution’s case rested on the testimony of one witness, who claimed to have seen the defendant about 20 minutes prior to the shooting in the same vehicle a few blocks away. 

However, the defense counsel later received an anonymous text with information about an alleged plot to frame the defendant. The text included screenshots from the witness’ social media account. In addition, the prosecution was accused of improperly questioning the defendant’s decision to plead the fifth and their decision to show the defendant a photograph of his dead friend – something that was apparently inflammatory. Finally, the prosecution was accused of misleading the jury in their closing argument. 

The defendant requested voir dire examination of key evidence, but the judge denied this. The Superior Court found this to be a mistake and subsequently vacated the defendant’s convictions. Although a new trial will proceed, this is certainly an example of a successful defense strategy. 

Where Can I Find an Experienced Defense Attorney in Boston?

If you are facing gun charges such as “assault with intent to murder,” it may be helpful to get in touch with an experienced defense attorney in Boston. Choose Edward R. Molari, book a consultation, and discuss the details of these offenses in more detail. There are many potential defense strategies for gun and shooting charges in Boston, so get in touch today to assess the most appropriate course of action.