Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Commonwealth v. Oberle

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Norfolk

February 28, 2017


          Heard: December 8, 2016.

         Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on September 17, 2014.

         The cases were tried before Raymond J. Brassard, J.

         The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.

          Merritt Schnipper for the defendant.

          Michael McGee, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

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

          BOTSFORD, J.

         The defendant, William Oberle, appeals from three assault and battery convictions, G. L. c. 265, § 13A (a.), and a kidnapping conviction, G. L. c. 265, § 26, arising out of an incident of domestic violence. The defendant argues that the trial judge erred in denying his peremptory challenge of a female juror and in admitting prior bad act evidence. We reject both arguments and affirm the judgments of conviction of assault and battery. The defendant also argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his kidnapping conviction. We are unpersuaded, and affirm that conviction.

         1. Background.

         a. Facts.

         Because the defendant challenges, in part, the sufficiency of the trial evidence, we summarize it in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Latimore, 378 Mass. 611, 676-677 (1979). The defendant and the victim began a romantic relationship in the summer of 2013. The defendant made the victim feel uncomfortable and insecure, and prevented her from looking at or speaking with others in public. In February, 2014, the victim went to a hospital emergency room with bruising to her ears, face, neck, and arm after the defendant had beaten and strangled her. As he wrapped his hands around her neck during that incident, the defendant told the victim he was going to kill her.

         The couple soon reconciled and moved together to the home of the defendant's daughter in Dedham. They occupied a bedroom in the basement of the house, which had a private back door and a shared exit through the first-floor kitchen.[1] Although their relationship briefly stabilized following the move, the defendant's physical abuse of the victim resumed, and the defendant struck the victim's face on multiple occasions. The victim struggled with alcohol and was intoxicated daily during this period.

         On July 4, 2014, the defendant and victim argued because the defendant refused to return the victim's bank card, an act she took as a sign that he was again using drugs. Following the argument, the defendant left; the victim stayed home, drank several beers, and went to bed. When the defendant returned to the house after midnight, the argument escalated. The defendant punched the victim's face, chest, and legs. He held her down and choked her, saying he would kill her. The victim was unable to call for help because the defendant had taken her cellular telephone the day before.

         The victim lost consciousness for an unspecified period of time. When she woke up, the defendant was still on top of her, shouting, with his hands around her neck. The victim was unsure how she got away or how much time had passed, but recalled that there was daylight when she ran out the back door of the basement. Barefoot, bleeding, and wearing only her pajamas, she ran across the street and hid in the garage of a rental car business. The defendant initially remained in the basement bedroom, but the victim saw him walk down the driveway as she waited for the business to open so that she could telephone the police.

         Matthew Kronk arrived to open the rental car business at approximately 7:30 A.M. The victim approached Kronk to ask for help, and he telephoned 911. Paramedics and Dedham police officers responded to the scene and brought the victim to the hospital, where her injuries were photographed. They included bruising to the arm and left eye, bleeding in the nose and ear, and neck abrasions. The victim's treating physician opined that these injuries were consistent with multiple blows to the face and body, and with strangulation.

         b. Procedural history.

         The defendant was indicted on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, witness intimidation, and four counts of assault and battery. At the close of the Commonwealth's case, the defendant moved for a required finding of not guilty on the charges. The judge allowed the motion in relation to the charge of witness intimidation but denied it for the remaining charged crimes. The defendant renewed his motion at the close of the defense case, and it was again denied.

         The jury acquitted the defendant of attempted murder and one of the assault and battery charges, and convicted him of kidnapping and three counts of assault and battery.[2] The defendant filed a timely notice of appeal, and we allowed his application for direct appellate review.

         2. Discussion.

         a. Perempto ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.