Com. v. McGrath

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtBefore WILKINS, C.J., and SPALDING, CUTTER, SPIEGEL and REARDON; SPALDING
Citation222 N.E.2d 774,351 Mass. 534
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH v. Wilfred A. McGRATH.
Decision Date04 January 1967

Page 774

222 N.E.2d 774
351 Mass. 534
COMMONWEALTH

v.
Wilfred A. McGRATH.
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.
Argued Nov. 7, 1966.
Decided Jan. 4, 1967.

[351 Mass. 535]

Page 775

Ronald J. Chisholm, Winchester, for defendant.

Gerald F. Muldoon, Asst. Dist. Atty., for the Commonwealth.

Before [351 Mass. 534] WILKINS, C.J., and SPALDING, CUTTER, SPIEGEL and REARDON, J.j.

[351 Mass. 535] SPALDING, Justice.

In the early morning of March 31, 1965, Carla Johnson was seriously wounded by eight twenty-two calibre bullets fired from a distance of twelve to eighteen inches. One of the bullets entered her right arm and seven entered her abdomen. The defendant was charged with the offense in two indictments, one for assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and the other for assault with intent to murder. The jury found him guilty under both indictments. The defendant's exception raise questions[351 Mass. 536] relating to the admission in evidence of certain testimony of two police officers, and to the denial of his motions for directed verdicts.

There was evidence of the following: The shooting occurred in an apartment in Revere where Carla and the defendant had been living together since August, 1964. The apartment was rented in the name of John Shea, a name which the defendant sometimes used. Carla testified that she had been drinking with the defendant in a Boston barroom early in the evening of March 30, but had left the defendant about 9 P.M. She said she returned home around midnight, was alone in the apartment, and did not know who shot her. A police officer first learned of the shooting when a car driven by Mrs. John Roy, who lived in the apartment next to the defendant's, was seen speeding on the Revere Beach Boulevard with the horn blowing. He gave chase and overtook the car. He discovered Carla Johnson lying unconscious on the floor of the back seat. An ambulance was called and Carla was taken to a hospital. Police officers went to the

Page 776

defendant's apartment and found a twenty-two calibree revolver containing eight discharged cartridges. There were bullet holes in the wall and sofa, a spent twenty-two calibre bullet on the floor, and a box of twenty-two calibre cartridges in a drawer. The officers also found a mop which was later determined to have human blood on it. The defendant entered the apartment at about 4 A.M., wearing a white 'T-shirt' and dark trousers, and was subsequently taken to the Revere police station for questioning.

Officer Parvin and Lieutenant Hurley testified to the defendant's entrance into the apartment and his subsequent interrogation. The defendant contends that certain portions of each policeman's testimony were not admissible in evidence, and that the Commonwealth did not therefore produce sufficient evidence to warrant the guilty verdicts.

1. Lieutenant Hurley testified as follows: Several hours after the shooting he interrogated the defendant, who, though not yet booked, was under technical arrest. Hurley [351 Mass. 537] first advised the defendant of his rights to remain silent and to 'contact counsel,' which the defendant said he understood. Hurley then brought Mrs. Roy into the room. 1 Mrs. Roy said she was a neighbor of the defendant, and the defendant confirmed this fact. In the course of questioning by Hurley, in the defendant's presence, Mrs. Roy said that she had been at a barroom early that morning when the defendant came in and 'pulled * * * (her) off the * * * (bar) stool and out the door.' She said they drove back to the apartment in Rever which Carla Johnson and the defendant had been sharing and that Carla was outside lying on the ground. The defendant 'picked her up and put her in the back seat of * * * (Mrs. Roy's) car. * * * He said, 'Get her to the hospital. I just shot her. " After eliciting these statements from Mrs. Roy, Hurley turned to the defendant and asked him, 'Have you anythiing to say now?' A. 'I got nothing to say. I told you where I was except thanks for the coffee. * * *' Q. 'Did you hear what she had to say?' A. 'Yup, I listened.' Q. 'Is she lying?' A. 'As far as Know she is.' Q. 'Why would she lie?' A. 'I don't know. I ain't saying no more. You're already convinced I done it so lock me up and get it over with.' Q. 'Why would Mrs. Roy tell us a story like this if it were not true?' A. 'I don't know.' Q. 'If you tell the truth for a change it will be better in the long run for you.' A. 'Maybe Carla will tell you.' Q. 'You don't think Carla will talk?' A. 'I know she won't.' Q. 'Who else could have shot her' A. 'Maybe a boyfriend. She has lots of them.' Q. 'You are the only boyfriend we know of.' A. 'May be.' After a number of questions relative to the defendant's activities on the night of the shooting, Hurley asked, 'What would make a person shoot a girl like this?' A. 'If she dies it doesn't make any difference. I love the girl. No matter what I'm going to jail so let's let the Court decide. I'm sick to death that she's in the hospital but [351 Mass. 538] there is nothing I can do to change that now.' Q. 'Well, why don't you bail out now and get it off your chest?' A. 'I can't bail out. But I never say anything to cops, and I don't want to say anything now. Let Carla tell you about it if she wants to. I'm not going to say anything. If she dies I'd just as soon go myself. I'd rather be dead than live without her.' Hurley, indicating blood stains on the defendant's trousers, asked, '* * * How did you get the blood on your pants?' A. 'I could have pricked my finger and, look here where, I cut myself shaving.' Q. 'You wouldn't leave that amount of blood on your pants if you pricked your finger nor if you cut yourself shaving, would you?' A. 'Maybe I have the...

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13 practice notes
  • Com. v. Lavalley
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 15 Julio 1991
    ...did not fall under the protection of the confrontation clause or within the scope of the hearsay rule. See Commonwealth v. McGrath, 351 Mass. 534, 539, 222 N.E.2d 774 (1967). Compare Commonwealth v. Bergstrom, 402 Mass. 534, 547, 524 N.E.2d 366 (1988) (statute which allows victim of sexual ......
  • Com. v. Leaster
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • 5 Septiembre 1972
    ...Glassman v. Barron, 277 Mass. 376, 382, 178 N.E. 628; Commonwealth v. Locke, 335 Mass. 106, 112, 138 N.E.2d 359; Commonwealth v. McGrath, 351 Mass. 534, 539, 222 N.E.2d 774; National Labor Relations Bd. v. G. W. Thomas Drayage & Rigging Co., Inc., 206 F.2d 857, 860 (9th Cir.); Allen v. D'Er......
  • Rubey v. City of Fairbanks, No. 956
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • 23 Junio 1969
    ...Cal.App.2d 596, 326 P.2d 929, 932-933 (1958); People v. Henry, 86 Cal.App.2d 785, 195 P.2d 478, 480-481 (1948); Commonwealth v. McGrath, 351 Mass. 534, 222 N.E.2d 774 (1967). In the Markis case, Judge Friendly wrote at 863-864 of 352 F.2d: Markis claims it was error to admit Ripa's testimon......
  • Com. v. Valliere
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • 11 Diciembre 1974
    ...are generally admitted in evidence. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Burke, 339 Mass. 521, 532, 159 N.E.2d 856 (1959); Commonwealth v. McGrath, 351 Mass. 534, 538, 222 N.E.2d 774 (1967). He does not contend that he lacked competence at the time he made his statements. Cf. Commonwealth v. Masskow,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Com. v. Lavalley
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 15 Julio 1991
    ...did not fall under the protection of the confrontation clause or within the scope of the hearsay rule. See Commonwealth v. McGrath, 351 Mass. 534, 539, 222 N.E.2d 774 (1967). Compare Commonwealth v. Bergstrom, 402 Mass. 534, 547, 524 N.E.2d 366 (1988) (statute which allows victim of sexual ......
  • Com. v. Leaster
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • 5 Septiembre 1972
    ...Glassman v. Barron, 277 Mass. 376, 382, 178 N.E. 628; Commonwealth v. Locke, 335 Mass. 106, 112, 138 N.E.2d 359; Commonwealth v. McGrath, 351 Mass. 534, 539, 222 N.E.2d 774; National Labor Relations Bd. v. G. W. Thomas Drayage & Rigging Co., Inc., 206 F.2d 857, 860 (9th Cir.); Allen v. D'Er......
  • Rubey v. City of Fairbanks, No. 956
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • 23 Junio 1969
    ...Cal.App.2d 596, 326 P.2d 929, 932-933 (1958); People v. Henry, 86 Cal.App.2d 785, 195 P.2d 478, 480-481 (1948); Commonwealth v. McGrath, 351 Mass. 534, 222 N.E.2d 774 (1967). In the Markis case, Judge Friendly wrote at 863-864 of 352 F.2d: Markis claims it was error to admit Ripa's testimon......
  • Com. v. Valliere
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • 11 Diciembre 1974
    ...are generally admitted in evidence. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Burke, 339 Mass. 521, 532, 159 N.E.2d 856 (1959); Commonwealth v. McGrath, 351 Mass. 534, 538, 222 N.E.2d 774 (1967). He does not contend that he lacked competence at the time he made his statements. Cf. Commonwealth v. Masskow,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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