Massachusetts Appeals Court Affirms Convictions in Waltham Stabbing Case

The Appeals Court today upheld the convictions against a man who stabbed his wife’s roommate 31 times, resulting in a 15-20 year prison sentence.  The name of the case is Commonwealth v. Louis

The defendant’s wife was living with a roommate in Waltham and the roommate had ordered the defendant to stay away from her house.  The defendant was convinced the roommate was trying to wreck his marriage.  One morning in August of 2016, the defendant’s wife and her roommate saw the defendant standing outside of the house with his hand raised and appearing to hold an object.  The defendant broke into the house through a sliding glass door and began to stab the roommate.  During the stabbing, the roommate’s elderly mother tried to stop it by grabbing the defendant’s shoulder.  The defendant swung his arm back and stabbed the mother in the hand, resulting in a deep laceration.  The defendant then fled and the victims were transported to the hospital.  The roommate had been stabbed 31 times and was hospitalized for more than a week.  Her mother needed stitches to close the wound on her hand.  The defendant was later arrested and repeatedly asked what he was expected to do, given that the roommate was trying to break up his family.  The defendant later told his family he had made “an example” out of the roommate.  He elected to have a bench (jury-waived) trial and a Middlesex County superior court judge found him guilty of: armed assault with intent to murder; armed assault in a dwelling; aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over the age of 60.  He appealed and the Appeals Court affirmed.

The defendant primarily argued the evidence did not support his conviction for the assault and battery with a dangerous weapon against the roommate’s mother.  The Appeals Court pointed our there are two ways the Commonwealth can prove an assault and battery – an intentional act or a reckless act.  A reckless assault and battery is proven if: (1) the defendant’s behavior made it highly likely that substantial harm would result to another person or the defendant’s behavior disregarded likely harmful consequences to another person, and (2) the defendant’s behavior resulted in the victim suffering physical injury.  The Court here concluded there was sufficient evidence for the defendant to have been found guilty of reckless assault and battery with a dangerous weapon against the roommate’s mother.  At the time he felt a person touching his shoulder, the defendant swung his hand, which was holding a knife, backwards.  It was highly likely that substantial harm would result and anyone in the immediate vicinity would be injured.  Further, the mother’s injury was not merely trifling or transient, as she suffered a deep cut on her hand that required stitches.  The defendant also argued there was insufficient evidence the mother’s injury was caused by the defendant’s knife, as she had not seen the weapon.  The Appeals Court didn’t buy this argument either, stating that the trial judge reasonably inferred the mother was injured with the knife that was being used to stab her daughter.

The defendant will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years of his sentence.