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Massachusetts v. Hinds

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
927 N.E.2d 1009 (2010)


John Hinds (defendant), who lived with his aging mother in the mother’s house, had an ongoing dispute with siblings Patricia Melo and Warren Beranger. Hinds denied the siblings access to the house, and Warren, who held the mother’s power of attorney, threatened to sell the house and kill Hinds. Hinds obtained a temporary order of protection that was dismissed after hearing 13 days later. On the day the order of protection was dismissed, Patricia, Warren, and Warren’s wife Mary arrived at the mother’s house. Patricia forcibly pushed past Hinds and entered the house, while Warren and Mary waited at the corner outside. Because Patricia was yelling and cursing at the mother and threatening to put the mother in a nursing home, Hinds shot Patricia in the head. As Patricia lay on the floor, Hinds exited the house, walked to the corner, and yelled at Warren and Mary to leave Hinds and the mother alone. As Mary placed both hands on a pocketbook, Hinds shot Mary in the head. When Warren pushed back his coat, Hinds shot Warren in the head and back. Hinds claimed that the shooting occurred in self-defense, because Hinds thought that Warren and Mary were reaching for weapons. Hinds was charged with the murders of Warren and Mary. At the close of the evidence, Hinds requested a jury charge on voluntary manslaughter. The court refused the request. The jury convicted Hinds of first-degree murder of Warren and second-degree murder of Mary. On appeal, Hinds argued that the trial judge erred by refusing to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter on the ground that Hinds was provoked into killing and acted in self-defense.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gants, J.)

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