Heard: September 8, 2017.
found and returned in the Superior Court Department on July
case was heard by Patrick F. Brady, J.
Jay Black for the defendant.
DiLoreto Smith, Assistant District Attorney (Patrick M.
Haggan, Assistant District Attorney, also present) for the
Present: Gants, C.J., Lenk, Budd, & Kafker, JJ.
defendant, Crisostomo Lopes, pulled the fourteen year old
victim off a motorized scooter and held him, while the
codefendant, a juvenile, shot him multiple times at close
range. The victim succumbed to a gunshot wound to his chest
shortly thereafter. After a jury trial, both the defendant
and his codefendant were convicted of murder in the first
degree on the theories of deliberate premeditation and
extreme atrocity or cruelty.
appeal, the defendant claims that reversal of his conviction
is required because the judge erred by: (1) failing to find
that the Commonwealth's peremptory challenges of
prospective jurors were improper; (2) allowing evidence of
the defendant's gang affiliation and the victim's
brother's knowledge of neighborhood gang activity; (3)
precluding the defendant from cross-examining a police
officer witness on prior misconduct; and (4) allowing the
prosecutor to make improper and prejudicial statements during
the Commonwealth's closing argument. For the reasons
stated below, we conclude that there has been no reversible
error, and after a thorough review of the record, we decline
to exercise our authority under G. L. c. 278, § 33E, to
reduce or set aside the verdict of murder in the first
degree. Therefore, we affirm the defendant's conviction.
summarize the facts that the jury could have found, reserving
certain details for discussion of the legal issues.
victim was fourteen years old and lived on Norton Street in
the Dorchester section of Boston. On May 30, 2010, the victim
had been riding a scooter around Dorchester that was being
driven by his fifteen year old brother. Each was wearing a
helmet, but different styles. They were riding the scooter on
Inwood Street, approaching Olney Street, when the brother
almost hit the defendant, who was on a bicycle. The brother
stopped the scooter and lifted his helmet. No words were
exchanged, and the defendant continued moving.
after the encounter, the victim asked his brother if he could
ride the scooter by himself. The brother agreed, and the
victim put on his brother's helmet because it was the
better of the two. The brother saw the victim drive away from
their home heading toward Ridgefield Street.
police Officer Anthony Williams, a member of the local youth
violence strike force, had left work at approximately 7:45
P..M. and was driving home. As Officer Williams drove toward
the intersection of Bowdoin Street and Norton Street, he
observed the defendant and his codefendant. They appeared to
be "on a mission, " proceeding hurriedly and
rapidly. Officer Williams turned his automobile around to
further observe them as they approached Bowdoin Street. He
pulled his automobile to the side of the road within close
proximity to the defendant and his codefendant. From his
vantage point, Officer Williams testified that he had a clear
view of the individuals through his rear passenger and
driver's side windows.
time, the defendant was riding a bicycle and his codefendant
was, at one point, on the back. After they dismounted the
bicycle, Officer Williams observed that the codefendant kept
his hand stiffly inside his right pocket. Both defendants
were looking out toward Olney Street in a crouched position.
victim drove the scooter down Olney Street toward Bowdoin
Street, Officer Williams observed the defendant dart out into
the street, grab the victim's shoulder, and motion to his
codefendant. As the defendant held the victim, his
codefendant removed a gun from his pocket, ran out into the
street, and from approximately one foot away fired shots into
the victim's chest. The codefendant fled on foot and the
defendant picked up his bicycle and rode away.
Williams got back in his vehicle and notified Boston police
operations. Officer Williams then continued his pursuit of
the codefendant and observed that he kept his hand in his
right pocket throughout the pursuit. While the chase was
ongoing, two other officers arrived, including Officer Joseph
Singletary, who saw the codefendant reach into his pocket and
pull out a gun with his right hand. As the codefendant
crossed Stonehurst Street, he bent down near a Toyota Camry
automobile and a pickup truck. After the codefendant bent
down, his hand was no longer in his pocket.
officers were securing the codefendant, Officer Williams saw
the defendant, who had returned to the scene. He drew his
firearm and ordered the defendant to get onto the ground. The
defendant said, "What are you going to do, shoot me? . .
. You can catch one, too." As the defendant was placed
into custody, Officer Williams heard him yell, "Homes
Ave., motherfuckers." An officer who was another member
of the youth violence strike force and who had responded to
the scene testified that as he placed the defendant into a
transport vehicle, the defendant also twice screamed,
"That's right, bitches, Homes Ave. on the
Singletary recovered a firearm underneath the tire of the
Toyota Camry where he had seen the codedendant bend down.
That firearm, an Armi Tanfoglio .25 caliber semiautomatic
pistol, was found to match all of the ballistic evidence
recovered from the scene and from the victim's body.
Swabs later taken from the codefendant's hands and the
defendant's shirt revealed the presence of gunshot
defendant and his codefendant were brought to the police
station for booking following their arrest. The booking
officer was a Cape Verdean Creole speaker. He placed the
defendant in a cell close to him, and the codefendant in the
cell that was further away. On at least three occasions, the
booking officer heard the defendant yell to his codefendant
in Cape Verdean Creole, "Take the fault" and
"Can you hear me?"
autopsy revealed that the victim suffered a gunshot wound to
his chest, near his left armpit, and another to his right
thigh. The bullet to the victim's chest pierced through
his heart and both lungs, ultimately causing his death
Peremptory challenges of ...