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Commonwealth v. Tassinari (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-165-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11049   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  JOHN J. TASSINARI.     Plymouth.     May 10, 2013.  ‑  September 9, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, & Duffly, JJ.   Homicide.  Evidence, Hearsay, State of mind, Motive, Prior misconduct, Spontaneous utterance, Relevancy and materiality, Photograph, Firearm.  Firearms.  Jury and Jurors.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Jury and jurors, Argument by prosecutor, Instructions to jury.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on June 20, 2008.   The case was tried before Jeffrey A. Locke, J.     Robert F. Shaw, Jr., for the defendant. Mary E. Lee, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     IRELAND, C.J.  On November 1, 2010, a jury found the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree of his wife on the theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty.  The defendant argues error in the admission of evidence; the judge’s failure to exclude a juror based on the juror’s dual citizenship; portions of the prosecutor’s argument; and jury instructions.  He also seeks relief pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E.  Because we discern no error, and see no reason to exercise our power under G. L. c. 278, § 33E, we affirm. 1.  Background.  The defendant admitted to shooting and killing his wife, the victim, in the driveway of their home on April 22, 2008.  The main issue at trial was whether the shooting was a result of the defendant’s sudden “heat of passion.” a.  The Commonwealth’s case.  We present the essential facts the jury could have found, reserving certain details for our discussion of the issues. The defendant and the victim were married in November, 2004, after a relationship of approximately two years.  At the time of the murder, the couple lived next door to the victim’s brother and his wife, with whom they regularly socialized.  The defendant was a licensed firearms instructor who owned six handguns and one target rifle, all of which were licensed.  He stored the guns and various types of ammunition in a gun safe in the closet in his bedroom.  Some of the guns in the safe were kept loaded.  He also carried a gun during the day, taking it off only to shower and go to sleep at night. In the months prior to the murder, the defendant and the victim were experiencing tension in their marriage and discussed […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm

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