December 13, 2018
N.E.3d 746] INDICTMENTS found and returned in the Superior
Court Department on November 21, 2014. The cases were tried
before Brian A. Davis, J.
Alan Curhan, Boston, for Chad Connors.
H. O’Brien, Billerica, for Allen Erazo.
Donna-Marie Haran, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Kinder, Neyman, & Desmond, JJ.
N.E.3d 747] On August 12, 2014, inmate Michael Freeman beat
inmate William Sires to death in a cell at the
Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center (SBCC). The defendants,
Chad Connors and Allen Erazo, who are also inmates at SBCC,
were charged with murder in the first degree as joint
venturers based on evidence that Erazo physically forced the
victim into the cell where Freeman was waiting while Connors
closed the curtain on the cell door and stood by during the
April 8, 2016, Freeman pleaded guilty to murder in the first
degree. On May 6, 2016, following a jury trial in the
Superior Court, the defendants were both convicted of murder
in the second degree based on a theory of felony-murder, with
a predicate felony of kidnapping, G. L. c. 265, � 26. Erazo’s
conviction of murder in the second degree was also based on a
theory of intent-based murder.
appeal, the defendants challenge the sufficiency of the
evidence. Erazo also claims error in several evidentiary
rulings and raises one argument pursuant to Commonwealth
v. Moffett, 383 Mass. 201, 418 N.E.2d 585 (1981).
Specifically, he argues that his felony-murder conviction is
not consonant with justice in light of Commonwealth v.
Brown, 477 Mass. 805, 807, 81 N.E.3d 1173');">81 N.E.3d 1173 (2017), which
narrowed the scope of felony-murder liability and
prospectively "eliminated felony-murder in the second
degree." Commonwealth v. Fredette,
480 Mass. 75, 80 n.9, 101 N.E.3d 277 (2018). Discerning no
error, we affirm.
summarize the evidence in the light most favorable to the
Commonwealth. See Commonwealth v. Latimore, 378
Mass. 671, 677-678, 393 N.E.2d 370 (1979). In 2014, Freeman,
the defendants, and the victim resided in the N1 housing unit
at SBCC. The unit is monitored by recorded video
surveillance, and a video recording that was introduced at
trial showed the following sequence of events on August 12,
2014. The victim, who was in his seventies and walked with a
cane, fought with Freeman as the victim walked around the
common area of the unit during recreational time. After other
inmates stopped the physical altercation, Freeman, Connors,
and another inmate, Shaun McDonald, huddled together as the
victim [120 N.E.3d 748] continued walking around the common
area. When Freeman confronted the victim a second time
shortly thereafter, they exchanged words and the victim
walked away. Freeman and McDonald then talked in front of
McDonald’s cell (number twenty-three) while Connors sat on
the table closest to the officers’ station. Freeman briefly
entered cell twenty-three, exited, and spoke to McDonald and
Erazo. Connors, Freeman, and McDonald then engaged in
conversation as the victim walked toward cell twenty-three.
As the victim approached cell twenty-three, Freeman and
McDonald entered the cell and Connors stood by the door.
Erazo approached the victim suddenly from behind, wrapped his
arms around the victim, and violently pulled him inside cell
twenty-three. Connors stepped toward the cell, Erazo exited,
and Connors pulled a curtain across the door. Connors
immediately walked away from the cell and toward the
officers’ station, McDonald exited the cell, and the door
to cell twenty-three then closed. Connors circled back to
the common area and sat at a table across from cell
twenty-three with a direct view of the cell and the officers’
station. Connors then left the table and stood next to the
cell directly across from cell twenty-three. One and one-half
minutes later, the ...