Heard: May 3, 2017.
evidence. Practice, Criminal, Admissions and
confessions, Sentence. Indictment found and returned
in the Superior Court Department on June 12, 2015.
case was heard by Robert C. Rufo, J.
W. Ruben for the defendant.
Elizabeth A. Sweeney, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Green, Wolohojian, Massing, Shin, & Ditkoff, JJ.
defendant appeals after his conviction at a jury-waived trial
of stealing in a building, G. L. c. 266, § 20, arising
out of his theft of $240 from the home of his recently
murdered neighbors. This case requires us to consider the
nature of the corroboration required to support a conviction
based on a defendant's confession and to discern the
dividing line between property stolen from a building and
property stolen from the custody of a person in the building.
Concluding that the confession was adequately corroborated
and that the evidence made out the crime of stealing in a
building, we affirm.
between the evening of June 11, 2013, and the early morning
of June 12, 2013, Crystal Perry and Kristofer Williams were
murdered in their home in Falmouth by persons unknown. At
approximately 1:30 A.M. on June 12, police found their bodies
in the kitchen and living room, surrounded by blood. The
front door had been forced open and "[t]he house . . .
had been . . . ransacked, " but jewelry and a wallet
remained in the house. The defendant was a neighbor of the
victims and suffered from a heroin addiction.
defendant had been working as a mason's assistant for
approximately two and one-half years. His boss paid him in
cash at the end of each day, and the defendant "never
had cash the next day." When the defendant's boss
picked up the defendant the morning of June 12, the defendant
showed him cash and said, "Let's go get this, "
meaning that they should purchase heroin together. It was
more money than the defendant had been paid the day before.
The defendant and his boss then purchased $200 to $300 of
heroin. The defendant's boss also noticed that the
defendant was wearing rubber boots that day, as opposed to
the work boots he had worn every other day.
next day, and again four days after that, State police
troopers interviewed the defendant. The defendant stated that
he went into the victims' home "looking for
drugs" and noticed that the house had been
"ransacked." He found $100 on the floor near the
entrance, and he took it. After going through Perry's
wallet and checking at least some of both victims'
pockets,  he went into a bedroom. There, the
defendant found another $140 on the bed. The defendant took
this money as well and spent all of the money on drugs. The
defendant adamantly denied taking any jewelry.