Posts tagged "1003113"

Commonwealth v. Ahart (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-031-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑10795   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  REMEL AHART.       Middlesex.     November 9, 2012.  ‑  March 1, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, & Gants, JJ.       Homicide.  Witness, Cross‑examination, Bias, Credibility.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Argument by prosecutor, Sequestration of witnesses.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 14, 2006.   The cases were tried before Thomas P. Billings, J.     Leslie W. O’Brien for the defendant. John C. Verner, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.       SPINA, J.  The defendant was convicted of murder in the first degree of the victim, Corey Davis (Corey), on theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty.  He also was convicted of armed assault with intent to murder of Troy Davis (Troy), and two counts of illegal possession of a firearm.  On appeal the defendant asserts error in (1) the judge’s limitation of cross-examination of James Miller, the Commonwealth’s principal witness; (2) the admission of a police officer’s testimony vouching for Miller’s testimony; (3) the failure to sequester the police witness who vouched for Miller’s testimony; and (4) the prosecutor’s improper vouching for Commonwealth witnesses and misstating evidence during his closing argument.  He further contends that the cumulative effect of these errors, none of which was preserved except the question of sequestration, deprived him of a fair trial.  We affirm the conviction and decline to grant relief under G. L. c. 278, § 33E. 1.  Background.  The jury could have found the following facts.  Sherrod Bright (Sherrod) believed Corey had stolen $ 15,000 from him.  He offered the defendant $ 6,000 to kill Corey.  He paid the defendant one-half “up front,” with the balance due upon completion of the job.  During the evening of March 18, 2006, the defendant and Ahmad Bright (Bright), the codefendant[1] who was Sherrod’s brother, drove in a grey Jeep Cherokee to Upton Street in Cambridge, where they picked up James Miller.  They tried to recruit Miller to help them kill Corey.  Miller told them he would have no part of it, as Corey was a friend.  The three men drove around Cambridge looking for Corey.  Miller was the Commonwealth’s key witness at trial.   Shortly before midnight they spotted Corey’s vehicle and followed him.  The found Corey’s vehicle parked on Hamilton Street in Cambridge.  Bright, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm

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