Aug 23

Commonwealth v. M.A.

Commonwealth v. M.A.

M.A. was arrested after allegedly firing his gun three times at his in-laws’ car from a distance of ten feet away. The in-laws had been concerned that M.A. had “abducted” his wife because she was not answering his phone. One of the in-laws called M.A. and demanded that they meet in a parking lot so that they could check on the well-being of his wife. The in-laws claimed that M.A. sped out of the parking lot, then made a U-Turn and pulled his car directly parallel to their car, aimed his gun at them, and fired three times. Fired cartridge casings were recovered from the parking lot that matched a gun that was recovered from M.A. when he was arrested shortly after the incident. M.A. was licensed to carry the gun. At trial, the defense introduced evidence that the in-laws had sent threatening text messages to M.A. and were intent on a physical altercation with him. Although conceding that the gun was fired, the defense maintained that M.A. made a U-turn and fired shots because he feared that the in-laws would chase after him in his car (on a prior occasion, one of them did engage in a high-speed chase, where M.A. had to drive to a police station to get rid of him), and he was concerned about putting his pregnant wife in danger. Therefore, the defense argued, M.A.’s intent was to scare, not seriously injure, the three victims. The defense also used the ballistic evidence to establish that the shots were not fired from the location the witnesses testified they were and highlighted the fact that there was no damage to the car the victims were in. Furthermore, the defense produced records from a firing range as well as other evidence proving that M.A. was skilled in his use of firearms, which further buttressed the defense argument that had M.A. wanted to harm the victims, he could have. A judge agreed with the defense and found M.A. guilty of misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and simple assault only. M.A. had spent five months in jail on this case after his arrest because his bail was almost 1 million dollars. After the preliminary hearing, Mr. Link was hired and was able to secure M.A.’s release on house arrest pending the trial. With the 5 months M.A. has already spent in jail, it is expected that he will receive a guideline sentence of “time-served” when he is sentenced in October. The pretrial “offer” from the DA had been for 7-14 years in jail.

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