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Long-delayed Murder Case Goes To Trial Essay Sample

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Long-delayed Murder Case Goes To Trial Essay Sample

            Watching a jury trial was a novel experience for me because I came from a country where jury trial is not practiced. On trial for homicide was Norgin Baez, a 25-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic. He was charged with the alleged motiveless killing on December 22, 2002 of one Mabel Melo, 20 years of age, a fellow immigrant from the Dominican Republic and the fiancée and mother of a one-year-old son of Francisco Pequero, a cousin of the accused. The records of the case showed that the accused Baez, in the company of at least another unidentified person, entered the apartment of the victim and stabbed her 59 times in different parts of her body as they dragged her across the apartment. They finally left her body in the kitchen but not before pulling her panties down to her hips. Her dead body was discovered the following morning by her landlady who was occupying an upstairs apartment (Cramer).

            According to the accounts of the witnesses, when Melo was killed, her fiancé, Francisco Peguero, and some of his relatives immediately suspected Baez. So two days following the incident, three of Peguero’s relatives engaged the services of Baez to shovel snow. However, instead of putting him to work shoveling snow, they sidetracked him to a garage where they threatened to kill both him and his mother if he did not go to the police and confess to killing Melo. Thus afraid not only for his life but also that of his mother, Baez gave himself up to the Jamaica Plain police and confessed to the brutal killing of Mabel Melo (Cramer).

            The case took six long years to finally reach the court due to several reasons, namely: several changes in the prosecutors handling the case, motions filed by defense lawyer Daniel Solomon for the suppression of the confession made by Baez on the ground that the accused possessed a less than average intelligence who could not even qualify for a driver’s license. Solomon claimed that Baez was also a very complacent individual who was always prepared to please people by doing what they tell him to do and say (Cramer).

            The case was finally brought before a jury on September 15, 2008 at the Suffolk Superior Court with Assistant District Attorney Gretchen Lundgren heading the prosecution team and defense lawyer Daniel Solomon appearing for the accused Baez. I watched with fascination, the case being my first jury trial experience. My first impression was that the courtroom was not very large, contrary to what I expected. In fact it was only slightly larger than our school classroom. Then I observed that the jury which was composed of sixteen men and women appeared to me as highly diversified as a group could possibly get. I guessed then that perhaps diversity is needed for a neutral and well-represented deliberation of the case.

            I watched the prosecutor and the defense lawyer argue the case in front of the judge and the jury. In one instance, the Assistant District Attorney told the members of the jury that police investigators were convinced of the authenticity of the confession because Baez had described the elements of the crime as well as the scene of the crime very accurately. The defense, on the other hand, argued that the only evidence against the accused is his confession which, according to Solomon, was obtained through coercion and was therefore “contaminated” and should not be admitted as evidence. Solomon also argued that the accused was not even linked to the scene of the crime by any physical evidence and that the prosecution was only trying the case based solely on the confession of an individual who has less than average intelligence.

            Unfortunately, the judge called for a lunch break at 12:50 that would last until 2:00 p.m. I could not wait for the resumption of the trial as I had to return to class. However, the last thing I heard was the judge admonishing the members of the jury not to talk about the case among themselves or with any other parties with interest in the case, such as the family of the victim and the accused and the lawyers representing both parties.

Work Cited

Cramer, Maria. “Long-delayed murder case goes to trial.” The Boston Globe. 16 September

  1. 20 September 2008.

<http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/09/16/long_delayed_murder_case_goes_to_trial/>

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