Commonwealth v. D.H., Plymouth County Superior Court

The client was indicted in Plymouth County Superior Court on charges of Murder, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm stemming from a shooting that occurred in the City of Brockton, Massachusetts.

Client and his friend, the co-defendant in this case, had arranged to purchase a gun from another person, "X". The three of them had met and/or spoken several times during the date, and eventually agreed to meet inside a three-story apartment dwelling in Brockton.

X arrived at the building later on that afternoon, along with his girlfriend. The two of them were let in by the Client and the co-defendant through a back door stairwell. All 4 people proceeded up to the 3rd floor apartment where the gun transaction was to take place. The co-defendant led the way up the stairs single file; then the Client; then Mr. X., followed by his girlfriend.

Half-way up the stairs, the client happened to turn around and noticed that Mr. X had removed a gun from his waistband and was trying to cock it. Believing he and his friend were about to get robbed and fearing for their lives, Client gestures to the co-defendant who immediately passes a gun to Client. Now able to defend himself, Client turns his gun on Mr. X, stating "Don't even think about it - Don't do it!" In that moment, Client believes that Mr. X is about to fire and Client randomly discharges several shots in the direction of Mr. X. Mr. X runs back down the stairs and is able to make it outside, but eventually collapses.

The Client was arrested and gave an interview of what happened in the stairwell. He explained to the Massachusetts State Police and Brockton Police detectives that he only reached for the gun because he believed he was going to be robbed and/or shot, and that he feared for his life - and that he only discharged the gun in self-defense.

The case proceeded to trial and the defense of self-defense was introduced to the jury. The jury heard evidence that the X had been doing drugs all day; had a warrant for his arrest; had been planning on leaving town that evening; and that he was looking for more money for his time on the run. His girlfriend also testified at trial, and her truthfulness for her version of the events was aggressively questioned.

The jury ultimately acquitted Client of 1st Degree Murder (under several different theories) and also acquitted him of 2nd Degree Murder. Client was unfortunately convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter. His conviction is presently being challenged on appeal given numerous trial errors that occurred over Client's objection.