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Commonwealth v. Roy (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-063-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑10942   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ROBERT ROY. Bristol.     December 7, 2012.  ‑  April 11, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Botsford, Gants, & Lenk, JJ.   Homicide.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Argument by prosecutor, Instructions to jury.  Malice.  Evidence, Relevancy and materiality, Consciousness of guilt.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on December 5, 2007.   The case was tried before Robert J. Kane, J.     Charles K. Stephenson for the defendant. Eva M. Zelnick, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.       IRELAND, C.J.  On February 25, 2010, a jury convicted the defendant, Robert Roy, of murder in the first degree of his wife on the theory of extreme atrocity or cruelty.[1]  The murder was alleged to have occurred in March, 1986.  Represented by new counsel on appeal, the defendant asserts that a reduction in the verdict is required because there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict of murder by extreme atrocity or cruelty.  He also argues error in the admission of evidence, the prosecutor’s closing argument, and the jury instructions, and seeks relief pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E.  Because we conclude that no error requires a new trial and discern no reason to exercise our power pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E, we affirm. Background.  We recite the facts the jury could have found, reserving certain details for our discussion of the issues raised.  See Commonwealth v. Belcher, 446 Mass. 693, 694 (2006). The victim, who was nineteen years old when she disappeared in March, 1986, married the defendant in December, 1984.  She and the defendant had a volatile relationship.  Sometime in the late fall of 1985, the victim separated from the defendant and moved into her mother’s home in Acushnet.  She would see the defendant periodically after their separation, and the defendant at one point stayed in the cellar at his mother-in-law’s home, without his mother-in-law’s knowledge.  There were numerous times that neighbors saw the defendant cross their yards to get to the victim’s mother’s home.  Once there, the defendant sat on the back steps or looked in the windows.  This behavior continued until the victim disappeared.  In February, 1986, the defendant took his sister’s vehicle without her permission and followed the victim to New Bedford.  He was involved in an accident on the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 12, 2013 at 6:13 am

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