United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Spassky Alcequiecz was convicted of murder in the first
degree on a theory of felony-murder pursuant to Mass. Gen.
Laws ch. 265, § 1, armed burglary pursuant to Mass. Gen.
Laws ch. 266, § 14, and assault and battery by means of
a dangerous weapon pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265,
§ 15A(b). Presently pending before this Court is
Alcequiecz's petition for a writ of habeas corpus brought
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. [ECF No. 1]. Having
reviewed the parties' submissions, and construing
Alcequiecz's pleadings liberally because he is proceeding
pro se, this Court DENIES his petition for
a writ of habeas corpus for the reasons set forth below.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”)
provided an account of the facts as the jury could have found
them, which is summarized in relevant part below.
See Commonwealth v. Alcequiecz, 989 N.E.2d
473, 476-79 (Mass. 2013).
began dating Amanda Poisson in 2001. By early 2007, they,
along with their three-year-old son, Poisson's
nine-year-old daughter, and a family friend of Poisson's,
were living in a house in Lynn, Massachusetts. The house was
being renovated in March of 2007, during which time
Petitioner, Poisson, and the two minor children stayed
elsewhere. During this time, Poisson decided to end her
relationship with Petitioner, so Petitioner moved to an
apartment in another city. Poisson and the children moved
back to the house in Lynn after the renovations were
completed, and around this same time, Poisson began dating
their relationship had ended, Petitioner and Poisson stayed
in frequent contact. They also continued to share vehicles,
which they exchanged approximately every other day. In April
of 2007, Petitioner met Mejia for the first time at a
birthday party for Poisson's daughter. Poisson did not
tell Petitioner that she and Mejia were dating. One week
later, Poisson engaged in sexual intercourse with Petitioner
at his apartment where she then spent the night. The
following morning, Poisson informed Petitioner that she did
not want to rekindle their relationship despite the events of
the prior evening.
on April 19, 2007, Petitioner spent the evening drinking and
using cocaine with friends. At the same time, Mejia was
visiting Poisson at her house in Lynn. At approximately 3:18
a.m. on April 20, 2007, Petitioner called Poisson and asked
if he could spend the night at her house. After being told to
go home, Petitioner responded that “the only reason why
[she] wouldn't let him in the house is if somebody was
there.” Poisson told Petitioner to go home a second
time and hung up the phone. Petitioner called back, and
Poisson again told him to go home. Petitioner responded,
“Did you forget that I have the keys to the
house?” and hung up. Id.
went downstairs, looked out the living room window, and saw
Petitioner's vehicle parked outside. Petitioner was
standing on the front porch. He then unlocked the front door,
but the door's chain lock prevented him from entering the
house. When Poisson declined to join Petitioner outside to
talk, he asked if anyone was inside with Poisson, and said
that he would leave if that were the case. Poisson then told
Petitioner that Mejia was inside watching a movie.
learning this information, Petitioner smashed several window
panes above the front door with a car battery charger pack
that had been on the front porch. When Petitioner threatened
to break down the door, Poisson let him into the house.
Petitioner then used the car battery charger pack to strike
Poisson in the head twice. When he tried to hit Poisson a
third time, she blocked the attempted blow with her arms.
then went upstairs to Poisson's bedroom where he found
Mejia, and told him, “This is what I wanted to see. I
wanted to see you here in my house, in my bedroom.”
Id. Carol DeChristoforo, a family friend who was
renting a room in the house, heard the commotion and called
911. Petitioner left the house for a moment before returning
to take his son, who he then locked in a vehicle parked in
the driveway. While Petitioner was out of the house with
his son, Poisson joined her daughter, Mejia, and
DeChristoforo in DeChristoforo's bedroom on the second
floor of the house. She was dizzy and bleeding from her head,
and told DeChristoforo that she needed an ambulance.
DeChristoforo placed a second call to 911.
then returned to the house, went upstairs holding a
thirteen-inch kitchen knife, and attempted to force his way
into DeChristoforo's bedroom while Mejia tried to use his
body to hold the bedroom door closed. Poisson hid in the closet in
DeChristoforo's bedroom. Petitioner managed to force the
door open enough to reach in with his right arm and swing the
knife at Mejia as Mejia continued to try to hold the door
closed. Eventually, Petitioner was able to push his upper
body through the partially open door. Petitioner then looked
at Mejia, swung the knife one last time, and pulled his arm
out. Mejia, covered in blood, slid down the wall onto the
Petitioner descended the stairs, he shouted, “Yeah, I
did it. Yeah, I did it.” As two officers entered the
house, they encountered Petitioner, who was still holding the
knife. The officers ordered Petitioner to put down the knife
and he tossed it onto the couch. After Poisson attempted to
assist an officer who was attending to Mejia's wounds,
she went downstairs and saw Petitioner in handcuffs. Poisson
told Petitioner that he had probably killed Mejia and
Petitioner replied, “You cheated on me. You're a
whore.” On the way to the police station, Petitioner
asked one of the officers, “What would you do if you
found your girl with someone else in your home?”
Petitioner then answered his own question, saying he would do
“whatever it took, ” even if it put him away for
“the longest time.” Petitioner also said that he
“just cut him once a little bit.”
suffered four stab wounds and died from blood loss after
being transported to the hospital. Poisson suffered a
laceration to the left side of her head that required
seventeen staples as a result of being struck twice by the
car battery charger pack.
30, 2007, Petitioner was indicted by a grand jury for murder
in the first degree, armed robbery, and assault and battery
with a dangerous weapon. Following a trial by jury,
Petitioner was found guilty of all three counts. The trial
judge sentenced Petitioner to life in prison for first-degree
murder and to a concurrent term of nine to ten years for
assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. [ECF No.
33 at 7]. The Petitioner filed a motion for a new trial on
August 11, 2010, which was denied by the trial judge
following a hearing. Id. at 9-10. The direct appeal
of his convictions and his motion for a new trial were
consolidated before the SJC, where Petitioner presented three
claims: (1) that counsel was constitutionally ineffective on
numerous grounds; (2) that the Commonwealth made an improper
closing argument; and (3) that the conviction for armed
burglary was duplicative of the predicate felony underlying
his conviction for felony-murder. Alcequiecz, 989
N.E.2d at 476. The SJC affirmed the convictions for
first-degree murder and assault and battery by means of a
dangerous weapon, and dismissed the conviction of armed
burglary as duplicative. Id. at 482-83.
April 7, 2014, Petitioner filed a petition for federal habeas
corpus review of his state court conviction, raising four
claims [ECF No. 1], and requesting that the case be stayed
pending the exhaustion of his state court remedies [ECF No.
2]. This Court granted a stay on June 9, 2014, at which time
Petitioner filed a second motion for a new trial in state
court, claiming that his convictions should be vacated
because there was newly discovered evidence and his trial
counsel had been ineffective for failing to investigate this
evidence. [ECF No. 7]. The state court denied his motion for
a new trial, and his petition for leave to appeal was denied
by a single justice of the SJC because Petitioner did not
present a “new and substantial question which ought to
be determined by the full court.” S.A. at
At that time, Petitioner moved to lift the stay in federal
court [ECF No. 20], and filed a memorandum of law in support
of his petition for federal habeas corpus review [ECF No.
21]. The stay was lifted on August 6, 2015. [ECF No. 22].
Thereafter, this Court ordered Petitioner to file an amended
petition [ECF No. 27], which he did on December 14, 2015,
[ECF No. 30]. Respondent filed an answer on January 15, 2016.
[ECF No. 32]. Petitioner filed a memorandum of law in support
of his amended petition on April 11, 2016 [ECF No. 36], and
Respondent filed a memorandum of law in opposition on August
31, 2016 [ECF No. 40].
federal district court's review of a state criminal
conviction is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective
Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). The AEDPA
permits a federal court to grant habeas relief after a final