February 5, 2019
N.E.3d 774] INDICTMENTS found and returned in the Superior
Court Department on June 1, 2015.
cases were tried before Richard J. Carey, J.
Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the
case from the Appeals Court.
Elkins, Amherst, for the defendant.
T. OSullivan, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Gants, C.J., Lenk, Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.
June 2014, the defendant, Suzanne Hardy, was involved in a
multivehicle accident in Brimfield in which her two nephews
-- four year old Dylan Riel and sixteen month old Jayce
Garcia -- were fatally injured. The defendant and her
four year old son were seriously injured, but survived. At
the time of the accident, Dylan was seated in the rear middle
seat of the defendants four-door sedan with the seat belt
fastened, but without an
age and size appropriate child safety "booster"
seat, and Jayce was seated in the rear passengers side
position, in a front-facing safety seat with the straps set
too high, rather than an age and size appropriate rear-facing
defendant was indicted on two counts of manslaughter, G. L.
c. 265, § 13; two counts of negligent motor vehicle homicide,
G. L. c. 90, § 24G (b); one count of assault and battery by
means of a dangerous weapon, G. L. c. 265, § 15A (b); and
three counts of reckless endangerment of a child, G. L. c.
265, § 13L. The defendant was convicted of manslaughter of
Dylan, reckless endangerment of Dylan, and negligent motor
vehicle homicide of Dylan and Jayce.
appeal, the defendant raises two arguments. First, she
contends that there [123 N.E.3d 775] was insufficient
evidence to support the convictions of involuntary
manslaughter and reckless endangerment of a child relating to
Dylan. Second, she argues that, during closing argument, the
Commonwealth improperly argued inferences not supported by
the evidence and appealed to the passions and sympathies of
the jury. We conclude that there was insufficient evidence to
show that the defendants actions amounted to wanton or
reckless conduct, and as such, we vacate the convictions of
involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment of Dylan.
The defendants two convictions of negligent homicide are
defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence;
therefore, we ...