Posts tagged "Cowels"

Commonwealth v. Cowels; Commonwealth v. Mims (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-021-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11630 SJC-11631   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MICHAEL COWELS. COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MICHAEL MIMS. Suffolk.     October 9, 2014. – February 12, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.   Homicide.  Deoxyribonucleic Acid.  Evidence, Credibility of witness.  Witness, Credibility.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, New trial.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 6, 1993.   Following review by this court, 425 Mass. 279 (1997), motions for a new trial, filed on February 4 and March 24, 2008, were considered by Thomas E. Connolly, J.   Requests for leave to appeal were allowed by Cordy, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk.     David J. Apfel (Nicholas K. Mitrokostas & Joshua M. Daniels with him) for Michael Cowels. Philip G. Cormier for Michael Mims. Helle Sachse, Assistant District Attorney (Janis DiLoreto Noble, Assistant District Attorney, with her) for the Commonwealth.     LENK, J.  The defendants, Michael Cowels and Michael Mims, were convicted by a Superior Court jury in December, 1994, of murder in the first degree in the stabbing death of Belinda Miscioscia.  Among the evidence presented against them at trial were two “bloody” towels.  The Commonwealth offered testimony suggesting that the defendants had used the towels to clean themselves after stabbing the victim.  Testing performed on the towels at the time of the trial indicated the presence of human blood.  The testing, however, was inconclusive.  Further testing was performed on just one of the towels; the sample on the other was too small to be tested.  An expert testified that the further testing neither identified nor excluded the defendants or the victim as the sources of the blood.  In June, 1997, this court affirmed the defendants’ convictions.  See Commonwealth v.Cowels, 425 Mass. 279, 285-293 (1997). In 2008, the defendants filed separate motions for a new trial, based in part on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing performed on the previously tested towel by an independent laboratory after their convictions.  That testing revealed that the blood contained on the towel did not belong to either of the defendants or the victim, but instead to an unidentified male.  The defendants also argued in their motions that they had been deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. After a nonevidentiary hearing, the motion judge, who was also the trial judge, denied […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 12, 2015 at 8:07 pm

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