Commonwealth v. Barry, SJC-08635

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtLOWY, J.
Citation116 N.E.3d 554,481 Mass. 388
Decision Date12 February 2019
Docket NumberSJC-08635
Parties COMMONWEALTH v. Anthony BARRY (and nine companion cases).

481 Mass. 388
116 N.E.3d 554

COMMONWEALTH
v.
Anthony BARRY

(and nine companion cases1 ).

SJC-08635

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex..

Argued October 5, 2018.
Decided February 12, 2019.


Rosemary Curran Scapicchio, Boston (Jillise McDonough, Boston, also present) for Anthony Barry.

Claudia Leis Bolgen, Woburn, for Brian Cahill.

Casey E. Silvia, Assistant District Attorney (Timothy Ferriter, Assistant District Attorney, also present) for the Commonwealth.

Present: Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.

LOWY, J.

481 Mass. 389

Shortly after midnight on April 17, 1999, Kevin McCormack and Brian Porreca were part of a group leaving a bar in Malden with plans to continue their night at a club in Boston. They never made it. As the group prepared to leave, Porreca saw two longtime friends, Anthony Barry and Brian Cahill, run up to the vehicle that the group was entering. While Cahill stayed on the passenger side of the vehicle, shooting an Uzi at it, Barry fired a handgun into the back of McCormack's head as he sat in the

481 Mass. 390

driver's seat. Porreca and one of the women in their group were also shot, and Porreca retreated into the bar. Based largely on Porreca's testimony, Barry and Cahill were convicted of murder in the first degree.2

The defendants each filed two motions for a new trial, each of which was denied. Their direct appeal is consolidated with their appeal from the denial of those motions, and they argue that multiple reversible errors occurred both during and after trial. We consider whether (1) there was sufficient evidence to support each defendant's murder conviction; (2) the Commonwealth withheld exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963) ; (3) newly discovered evidence warranted a new trial; (4) expert testimony regarding deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) violated the defendants' rights to confrontation and due process; (5) the defendants' right to a public trial was violated; (6) discovery violations implicated the confrontation clause; and (7) a motion for the disclosure of a confidential informant's identity was erroneously denied. We affirm.

Background. 1. The shooting. We recite facts that the jury could have found and that are necessary to resolve the defendants' appeal, reserving some facts for later discussion. Porreca met some friends, including McCormack, at a bar in Malden on the night of April 16, 1999. While there,

116 N.E.3d 560

Porreca drank four or five beers before he, McCormack, Lindsay Cremone, Kristen Terfry, Stephen Almeida, and John Whitson decided to go to a club in Boston. The group left the bar at 12:15 A.M. on April 17 and proceeded to Cremone's sister's car. McCormack sat in the driver's seat, Terfry sat in the front passenger seat, Cremone sat in the rear driver's side seat, and Porreca was preparing to enter the rear seat on the passenger's side3 when he heard voices in the parking lot and looked up to see Barry and Cahill running in their direction. The men wore dark hoods that covered their ears, hair, and heads, but left their faces exposed. Cahill ran toward the passenger's side of the vehicle and fired a nine millimeter Uzi-type semiautomatic weapon into it, striking McCormack several times and shooting Porreca and Cremone twice each. Porreca had seen Barry running toward the driver's side of the car, and Cremone

481 Mass. 391

testified that a man ran to the driver's side of the vehicle, put a gun to McCormack's head, and shot him.

After being shot, Porreca observed Cahill turning toward the vehicle and heard "a lot of gunshots" as he retreated into the bar. From the back seat, Cremone heard "two different types of firing." As Porreca entered the bar, he yelled "call 9-1-1" and approached Whitson, with whom the group had been socializing earlier. Porreca exclaimed, "Fuck'n Barry and Cahill" to Whitson, and approached Gene Giangrande's4 girlfriend and told her to "[t]ell Gene I'm going to blow his fuck'n head off." Porreca explained that he said this because "[i]t was Gene Giangrande's crew, his friends who had just shot me, and I was mad at him."

A .40 caliber pistol was found on the ground next to the driver's side of the vehicle. The Uzi used in the attack was found by two teenagers walking home at approximately 2:30 A.M. on April 17 on the sidewalk of Whitman Street, close to the bar. One of the teenagers who found the Uzi took it home, unloaded it, and hid it in the basement of his house before turning it in to the Malden police the following day.

2. Porreca's background. Porreca grew up in Medford and was friends with each of the defendants. Porreca introduced the defendants to each other in 1994 or 1995, after which the defendants became "close." Porreca was also friends with Giangrande, an area bookmaker and drug dealer; William Angelesco, a friend of Giangrande's who was known to be connected with organized crime; and McCormack, the victim. Porreca was a former professional boxer and collected debts owed to Giangrande, who would pay him in cash or with Percocet pills. Porreca had a lengthy criminal history. The jury also heard evidence of Porreca's substance abuse. He admitted to being addicted to opiates and having consumed two or three Percocet pills on the morning of the shooting.

At the time of the murder, Porreca was under Federal investigation for his involvement in the kidnapping of an area drug dealer that took place in 1995 (kidnapping). Allegedly, Porreca and another man, in an attempt to determine the location of a shipment of marijuana from Mexico, kidnapped the drug dealer and brought him to a house in Medford. The man was tied up, sprayed with lighter fluid, and questioned as Porreca held a gun

481 Mass. 392

and another man held a lighter. After approximately

116 N.E.3d 561

one hour, Porreca and the other man released the kidnapped party. In early April 1999, Porreca received a summons to appear before a Federal grand jury, and met with several members of law enforcement to discuss the likely charges against him. Porreca left that meeting believing that he was facing fifteen or more years in prison if he did not cooperate with law enforcement; and if he did, his likely sentence would be reduced to approximately five years.

3. Additional trial evidence. The jury also heard testimony of the police investigation into the shooting. Porreca was interviewed by police at the hospital and was initially uncooperative. He first said that "two white guys" whom he knew had conducted the shooting, but later stated that it was actually "two black guys." Eventually, Porreca told a State police trooper investigating the shooting that he would identify the shooters in exchange for a promise that he would not go to prison for his involvement in the kidnapping. Porreca received such an assurance from the United States Attorney's office, agreed to cooperate, and identified the defendants to the police.

Pursuant to search warrants, police searched Cahill's residence in Randolph and recovered an ammunition can with a sticker from an army-navy style surplus store in Malden with a large pair of Hatch-brand leather gloves. A search of Barry's apartment in Melrose also yielded two Nomex hoods5 and an extra-large pair of Hatch gloves in a box with two bulletproof vests. The owner of the surplus store testified that two young men loosely matching the defendants' descriptions had purchased two pairs of Hatch gloves (one large and one extra-large), two Nomex hoods, and a can of .30 caliber ammunition one week before the shooting. A DNA expert testified that a saliva sample found on one of the Nomex hoods found in Barry's apartment matched Cahill's DNA.

A medical examiner testified about the autopsy he performed on McCormack. Detailing McCormack's injuries, he first described the gunshot wound to McCormack's head and offered his opinion that that wound alone was lethal. He further testified about a separate, independently lethal gunshot wound to McCormack's back. The bullet removed from McCormack's head was a .40 caliber bullet that matched the pistol left on the scene, while the second lethal wound was caused by an undetermined,

481 Mass. 393

but different, caliber bullet. One .40 caliber shell casing was recovered from the crime scene, found in the backseat of the car, and fourteen nine millimeter shell casings were found on the scene -- thirteen on or around the car and one on the floor of the car.

4. First motion for a new trial. In 2002, approximately two years after trial, the defendants filed their first motion for a new trial.6 After a three-day evidentiary hearing, the motion was denied.7 The primary arguments in the first motion centered on evidence discovered after trial that the defendants contended would have assisted their attack on Porreca's credibility. They also presented evidence that suggested that Giangrande and Angelesco had

116 N.E.3d 562...

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19 practice notes
  • Diaz v. Commonwealth, SJC-13009
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 5, 2021
    ...have recognized the right to confrontation as a trial right under both art. 12 and the Sixth Amendment. See Commonwealth v. Barry, 481 Mass. 388, 409, 116 N.E.3d 554, cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 140 S. Ct. 51, 205 L.Ed.2d 69 (2019) ("The right to confrontation, under both art. 12 and ......
  • Commonwealth v. Hobbs, SJC-12216
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 28, 2019
    ...we review any error to determine whether it created a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice. Commonwealth v. Barry, 481 Mass. 388, 407, 116 N.E.3d 554 (2019).Even if it was error to admit this testimony, it is clear that it did not likely influence the jury's conclusion. See Co......
  • Commonwealth v. Welch, SJC-11839
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 14, 2021
    ...raised and the adequacy of the defendant's showing on those issues.’ " Id. at 162, 139 N.E.3d 1159, quoting Commonwealth v. Barry, 481 Mass. 388, 401, 116 N.E.3d 554, cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 140 S. Ct. 51, 205 L.Ed.2d 69 (2019). In terms of the first prong, there is no dispute. &q......
  • Commonwealth v. Upton, SJC-11459
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 19, 2020
    ...have found and that are necessary to resolve the defendants' appeal, reserving some facts for later discussion. Commonwealth v. Barry, 481 Mass. 388, 390, 116 N.E.3d 554 (2019), cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 140 S.Ct. 51, 205 L.Ed.2d 69 (2019).On the night of September 29, 2009, the defendan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Diaz v. Commonwealth, SJC-13009
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 5, 2021
    ...have recognized the right to confrontation as a trial right under both art. 12 and the Sixth Amendment. See Commonwealth v. Barry, 481 Mass. 388, 409, 116 N.E.3d 554, cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 140 S. Ct. 51, 205 L.Ed.2d 69 (2019) ("The right to confrontation, under both art. 12 and the S......
  • Commonwealth v. Hobbs, SJC-12216
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 28, 2019
    ...we review any error to determine whether it created a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice. Commonwealth v. Barry, 481 Mass. 388, 407, 116 N.E.3d 554 (2019).Even if it was error to admit this testimony, it is clear that it did not likely influence the jury's conclusion. See Co......
  • Commonwealth v. Welch, SJC-11839
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 14, 2021
    ...issues raised and the adequacy of the defendant's showing on those issues.’ " Id. at 162, 139 N.E.3d 1159, quoting Commonwealth v. Barry, 481 Mass. 388, 401, 116 N.E.3d 554, cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 140 S. Ct. 51, 205 L.Ed.2d 69 (2019). In terms of the first prong, there is no dispute. ......
  • Commonwealth v. Upton, SJC-11459
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 19, 2020
    ...have found and that are necessary to resolve the defendants' appeal, reserving some facts for later discussion. Commonwealth v. Barry, 481 Mass. 388, 390, 116 N.E.3d 554 (2019), cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 140 S.Ct. 51, 205 L.Ed.2d 69 (2019).On the night of September 29, 2009, the defendan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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