Heard: March 8, 2018.
Complaint received and sworn to in the Marlborough Division
of the District Court Department on January 20, 2015, The
case was tried before Michael L. Fabbri, J.
Rosseel for the defendant.
D. Knight, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.
Present: Green, C.J., Kinder, & Henry, JJ.
a jury trial in the District Court, the defendant, Matthew G.
Alden, Jr., was convicted of intimidating a witness by
sending her threatening text messages in violation of G. L.
c. 268, § 13B. On appeal, the defendant claims (1)
evidence regarding the text messages was improperly admitted,
(2) the judge incorrectly instructed the jury regarding the
Commonwealth's burden of proof, and (3) the evidence was
not sufficient to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt. We affirm.
summarize the facts the jury could have found, viewing the
evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth. See
Commonwealth v. Latimore, 378 Mass. 671, 676-677
(1979). The victim in the case, E.B., was the defendant's
former girl friend. At the time of trial, she had known the
defendant for at least five years. In January, 2015, there
was a criminal case pending against the defendant, in which
E.B. was a potential witness. On January 19, 2015, E.B.
reported to the police that she was receiving threatening
text messages from someone she believed to be the defendant.
The messages were received from the telephone number E.B. had
used to communicate with the defendant by text messages and
telephone calls every few days for over one year.
messages threatened that, if E.B. "went to court[, she
would] be sorry[, ] and that [the defendant] would have
people come after [her] if [she] went to court." More
specifically, "[o]ne of [the messages] told [E.B.] to
keep her hoe ass mouth shut. [Another] implied that she
should kill herself and she should do it tonight." An
additional text message stated that E.B. should "leave
their personal stuff out of the courtroom and that if she
opened her mouth it'd be the worst thing she tried to do
-- . . . or the biggest mistake she ever made." E.B.
believed the text messages referred to her role as a witness
in the criminal case then pending against the defendant.
defendant testified that at the time the threatening messages
were received by E.B., he and his new girl friend had been
living with his aunt for "[a] couple of months."
The defendant and his mother testified that the cellular
telephone (cell phone) associated with the number from which
the threatening messages were received was not owned by the
defendant. According to the defendant, his aunt had purchased
the cell phone, but it was shared with the defendant and at
least six other people who lived at his aunt's
residence. The cell phone was not password protected
and remained at the aunt's house for use by its
residents. The defendant denied sending the threatening text
messages to E.B. He testified that, at the time the text
messages were sent, he was at the mall and did not have the
cell phone with him. Finally, the defendant testified that
his new girl friend did not like E.B.