As Jeffrey Thyng was leaving a country club around 2:00 a.m., Shea (defendant) and Bradford Couronis, approached him. Couronis made a derogatory remark to Thyng and Thyng made a similar remark in return. As Thyng was leaving the area to meet a friend nearby, Shea and Couronis followed him. Thereafter, the three men got into an altercation and Thyng was pushed to the ground, breaking his right hand. After Shea and Couronis punched and kicked Thyng on the ground several times, Thyng was stabbed in the chest. Thyng could not identify which of the two men had stabbed him. A friend of Thyng ran to find a police officer. Two officers chased Shea and Couronis from the scene and subsequently were apprehended trying to enter a truck. The officers found no weapons on Couronis, but did find a blood-soaked knife in an unbuckled sheath located on Shea’s belt. Blood was also observed all over the insides of Shea’s hands, coat, on his right arm, and on his belt. Blood was also detected on Couronis’ jersey, undershirt, and pants, but not on his hands or arms. Shea was tried and convicted of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct and sentenced to serve two concurrent six to 10 year prison terms. Shea appealed. The appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts granted review.