Heard: December 8, 2016.
found and returned in the Superior Court Department on
September 17, 2014.
cases were tried before Raymond J. Brassard, J.
Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct
Merritt Schnipper for the defendant.
Michael McGee, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy,
& Budd, JJ.
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
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.
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. 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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. The defendant filed a timely notice of
appeal, and we allowed his application for direct appellate