Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Woman’s Death in Sober Living Facility Allegedly at Hands of Ex Prompts Closer Look at Drug and Alcohol-Free Housing


An allegedly abusive relationship came to a tragic turning point this week, culminating in death and criminal charges under Massachusetts law, when 33-year-old Melissa Hardy was found lifeless in her ex-boyfriend’s home. According to The Boston Herald, Ms. Hardy’s body was found in a South Boston sober home for recovering drug and alcohol abusers, where Martin E. Jiminez had a room. According to her father, she had gone to Mr. Jiminez’s residence to collect her belongings after ending her relationship with him once and for all. Her father recounts that he had warned her to not go near Mr. Jiminez alone, and believes that Mr. Jiminez abused his daughter during their relationship. Ms. Hardy reportedly had decided to leave Mr. Jiminez after a physical altercation with him, in which he allegedly punched her in the face. She had been missing for several days, and family finally asked law enforcement officers to check Mr. Jiminez’s apartment for her, where she was finally found. According to prosecutors, Ms. Hardy’s body showed signs of trauma.

The horrific incident involving Ms. Hardy is not Mr. Jiminez’s first brush with the law. Mr. Jiminez was convicted of rape in 1989 and had done jail time, however, since his release, he had not registered as a sex offender. Before Ms. Hardy’s body was found on Wednesday, Mr. Jiminez had been arrested for violating Massachusetts DWI laws, when he was driving a car registered to Ms. Hardy’s father, high on drugs. The Boston Globe reports that on Monday, Mr. Jiminez was arrested for the DWI incident, and was taken to a nearby hospital. Incidentally, officials had issued a warrant for Mr. Jiminez’s arrest that same day, for the failing to register as a sex offender. Mr. Jiminez was arrested once again, on Wednesday, in connection to Ms. Hardy’s death. On Thursday, Mr. Jiminez was charged in South Boston District Municipal Court with murder. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered to be held without bail. He is apparently scheduled to appear in court again in early August.

In addition to drawing attention to the deadly, and unfortunate, consequences of abusive relationships, the case of Hardy and Jiminez has also brought attention to unregulated sober homes in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, sober homes are usually owned privately, and, therefore, are not registered with the city or state. The sober living home in which Mr. Jiminez resided is owned by Nonbue Investments, LLC, a corporation based in Missouri. That particular facility had been the subject of neighborhood complaints, including concerns about drug abuse at the property. While many sober living homes in the Boston area are responsibly run and do provide a sober living environment, authorities believe that some sober homes offer no services to their residents, and can exacerbate problems.

In the wake of Ms. Hardy’s death, Massachusetts lawmakers are taking a closer look at regulating sober living facilities. Lawmakers Martin J. Walsh and Nick Collins have taken up the cause, cosponsoring legislation that would require certification for alcohol and drug-free facilities.

If you have been charged with violating criminal laws in Massachusetts, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the offices of Edward R. Molari today for a confidential consultation.