Discharge of a Firearm within 500 Feet of a Building; Carrying a Firearm without a Permit; Defacing the Serial Number of a Firearm; Assault and Battery with a Firearm: Not Guilty After Jury Trial.
Man charged with conducting a drive by shooting at a 7-Eleven gas station in New Bedford, MA. Police alleged the man exacted revenge on rival gang members at the 7-Eleven following a similar drive by shooting the day prior whereby the man’s brother sustained two gunshot wounds. The 7-Eleven shooting incident occurred in the early morning hours of November 10, 2009. It was witnesses by several parties and partially caught on a surveillance video. The police engaged in a high speed chase with the man after receiving reports of gun shots at the 7-Eleven and a description of the man’s white car fleeing the scene. During chase, police observed a passenger run from the fleeing vehicle and into a nearby housing project. Police lost sight of the vehicle for a brief period of time, and then discovered it abandoned on a dead end street near a rural cemetery. A posse of police officers and K9 police dogs searched the entire area to include the abandoned car, housing project and nearby cemetery. The search uncovered a firearm abandoned in the housing project; an empty magazine that matched this firearm in the abandoned car; and the Defendant hiding in the cemetery. He was subsequently arrested and charged with Discharging a Firearm within 500 Feet of a Building; Carrying a Firearm without a Permit; Defacing the Serial Number of a Firearm; and Assault and Battery with a Firearm. Defendant confessed to police that he had been shot at by hang rivals at the 7-Eleven and denied being involved in the shooting. Defendant also consented to gunshot residue testing, which came back negative. Also, no prints were uncovered from either the firearm or magazine. The police also developed no ballistic evidence that either the discovered firearm or magazine were connected to the charged incident. The case proceeded to trial lasted approximately one week. At the outset of trial, the Defense filed a series of motions in limine, many of which were granted. Thereafter, the Commonwealth presented its case, which involved video evidence; physical evidence; documentary evidence; and the testimony of eleven police and civilian witnesses. The Defense crossed examined each witness vigorously and offered various pieces of demonstrative evidence. After the close of the Commonwealth’s case, I moved for a directive verdict. The Court granted my motion with respect to count 3, defacing the serial number of a firearm. The Court denied the motion with respect to the remaining counts and allowed the matter to proceed to the jury. After 2.5 hours of deliberation, the jury rendered its verdict of not guilty on all remaining charges. Defendant was acquitted and released from the courthouse.