ND charged as first degree murder


June 28, 2005, 12:20 PM
Boston Globe Article (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/06/28/shot_through_floor_kills_woman_downstairs/)

DA Alleges defendant has X-Ray Vision

Shot through floor kills woman downstairs
Man faces murder charge
By John Ellement and Donovan Slack, Globe Staff | June 28, 2005

LYNN -- It was the powdery white dust that gave it away, police said. Called to Jean Lally's apartment Sunday morning, when she could not wake her daughter, police noticed it on her daughter's chest.

They wondered if the dust had come from the ceiling, and sure enough, when they looked up, there it was, a hole in the plaster above them.

In what prosecutors are calling a bizarre murder, Kathryn R. Lally, 38, was shot dead while watching television on her mother's couch.

The bullet, they say, came through the floor of the apartment upstairs, where a person at what police called a marijuana-fueled party had discovered a Ruger semiautomatic pistol and fired it once into the floor.

''It's bizarre, but that's what happened," said Steve O'Connell, a spokesman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

Jason Welch, 23, of Lynn, was arraigned yesterday on charges of first-degree murder, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and unlawful possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty. Eight other people who had been at the party faced charges, including drug and gun possession.

Judge Joseph I. Dever ordered Welch held on $50,000 bail.

According to police and Welch's attorney, Raymond D. Buso, Welch had gone to the third-floor apartment to party with friends in the 30-unit building on Green Street, across the street from the Lynn Museum. The gun was already there, under a couch, while people were sitting around smoking marijuana, Buso said. At some point, Welch saw the weapon and decided to try to make sure the gun did not accidentally discharge, Buso said.

Welch had no formal training in handling handguns and instead relied on what he had seen in movies, Buso said. He removed the ammunition clip and did what is known as ''racking the slide," a process that normally ejects any bullets inside a gun's firing chamber.

Welch did not see any bullets pop out of the gun, prompting him to conclude that the handgun was empty, Buso said. He then pointed it at the floor and fired once.

According to a police report, Welch told investigators that despite the loud blast, he spent long minutes scouring the floor and couldn't find a bullet or a bullet hole so he thought the gun hadn't gone off.

''He didn't even know he killed anybody," Buso said. ''He was trying to make it safer."

Welch initially denied, when police interviewed him Sunday at the police station, that he had been at the party or that he had fired the gun. But he later admitted both, they said. He was arrested at the station.

A devastated Jean Lally told friends yesterday how she discovered her daughter was dead. Thinking she had fallen asleep while watching movies, Lally tried to wake Kathryn at 8 Sunday morning, but she wouldn't budge.

The mother prodded her once or twice and was not initially alarmed when Kathryn did not respond, because she was sometimes slow to wake up. Then she looked at her daughter's face.

''She looked white," a friend of Kathryn's, Laura K. Rixe, recalled Jean Lally saying.

Her mother dialed 911 at about 8 a.m. Medics quickly discovered the bullet wound, and police noticed the powdery debris. Upstairs they found eight people, the handgun, marijuana, and a shell casing.

The unusual shooting shook friends and neighbors. ''At your mother's house? You should feel safe there," said Penny Seery, 36, a friend of the Lallys. ''It's scary."

They described Kathryn as an outgoing, caring woman, one of seven children. The mother of a 17-year-old son, Lally had worked and volunteered at two local social service agencies in the past, her relatives said.

''She wasn't just my sister; we were best friends," said Colleen Lally, 49, also of Lynn, as she fought back tears. She said people would often mistake her for her sister, because they often chose the same clothes and hairstyles.

''She didn't deserve any of this," she added. ''She was a good person who just tried to help people."

While there was broad agreement between prosecutors and Welch's defense attorney yesterday about the basic facts of the shooting, there was intense disagreement on whether Welch should have been charged with first-degree murder, which is used for premeditated crimes.

''We just think this is the appropriate charge at this time," said O'Connell, adding that further investigation is needed.

Buso called it ''the most egregious example of overcharging" he had seen in 25 years.

Colleen Lally, who was not in court yesterday, learned of the charge from a reporter. ''Thank you, Lord," was all she said.

Globe correspondent Adam Jadhav and Jeremiah L. Manion of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Donovan Slack can be reached at dslack@globe.com.

Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

Do you think this is being charged appropriatly?

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June 28, 2005, 12:41 PM
Welch had no formal training in handling handguns and instead relied on what he had seen in movies, Buso said. He removed the ammunition clip and did what is known as ''racking the slide," a process that normally ejects any bullets inside a gun's firing chamber.Movies? Prevent NDs; teach firearms safety in schools! :mad:

June 28, 2005, 12:42 PM
Wow, thats really horrible, and an example of why people who dont know anything about guns ( but i saw it once in a movie!) shouldnt handle them without someone knowledgable keeping an eye on them.

Besides that: I feel horribly for the victim, random deaths like this just suck :(

The defendant (shooter) IS being WAY WAY over charged (IMHO & IANAL). I thought this would be somethign like involuntary manslaughter or something. Murder requires a motive, and 1st Degree murder requires premeditation AFAIK(again, IANAL).

Looks like some crazy DA out to win some spurs.

June 28, 2005, 12:44 PM
Negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter, at best.

Sergeant Sabre
June 28, 2005, 12:49 PM
According to all of the State 1st Deg Murder laws I am aware of (as a lowly CJ student in Michigan), one must have had the specific intent to kill the victim. So the above would not apply.

For example, an individual shoots into a crowd, killing Mr. X and Mrs. Y, who are in the crowd.
NOT 1st DEGREE MURDER, because the shooter's did not specifically intend to kill Mr. X and Mrs. Y. The intent was to shoot into the crowd.

The guy in the story originally posted intended to fire one round into the floor. He did not specifically intend to kill the victim.

R.H. Lee
June 28, 2005, 12:51 PM
That's only the original charge. Let the idiot plea bargain it down and do a hard 25.

June 28, 2005, 03:19 PM
one must have had the specific intent to kill the victim. Doesn't 1st degree also require premeditation?

June 28, 2005, 03:32 PM
1st degree murder sounds like kind of a stretch to me. If I was his lawyer he should take it to trial so that he can get aquitted. I could see this guy spending a year or two in jail, but 30 seems a little crazy to me.

El Tejon
June 28, 2005, 04:29 PM
cuch, depends on the state statute, unfamiliar with MA law. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Anyone have copy of MA statute???

sturm, aquitted of 1st degree murder perhaps. Plenty of less included offenses here.

Here would be likely facing Reckless Homicide and Criminal Recklessness with a Deadly Weapon causing Serious Bodily Injury.

Henry Bowman
June 28, 2005, 04:33 PM
Possible felony murder? Was the pot smoking/possession (or some other activity) a felony, in the course of which this nimrod squeezed one off?

June 28, 2005, 04:37 PM
Another example of prosecutors overreaching. How can any sane person have any respect for the legal system when prosecutors do stuff like this?

Any charge of murder requires intent, and intent is CLEARLY absent in this case. The appropriate charge here is something on the order of negigent homicide, negligent manslaughter, or whatever is on the books in Massachusetts that's similar in nature.

El Tejon
June 28, 2005, 04:37 PM
Henry, thought MA abolished or limited felony murder, a la MPC???

Hawk, you want to be on a jury sometime? :D

June 28, 2005, 04:39 PM
Do they have automatic condsideration of lesser included offenses?

A lazy prosecutor could just charge high and figure the jury will come down in the middle (manslaughter) which will be bigger notch for their electoral "get tough on guns" belt rather than actually charging appropriately and proving a case.

June 28, 2005, 04:42 PM
Did he remove the magazine before ejecting the cartridge from the chamber?

El Tejon
June 28, 2005, 04:50 PM
care, you don't say! :D :D :D

You sound like some soft-on-crime Bill of Rights thumping tilecrawler, care. :evil:

June 28, 2005, 04:56 PM
Someday I hope to be a lawyer. I'm just saving up ideas. :evil:

R.H. Lee
June 28, 2005, 05:02 PM
IF he happened to be committing a felony at the time of the shooting, wouldn't any death (in the process) be considered 1st degree murder?

June 28, 2005, 05:11 PM

Chapter 265: Section 1 Murder defined

Section 1. Murder committed with deliberately premeditated malice aforethought, or with extreme atrocity or cruelty, or in the commission or attempted commission of a crime punishable with death or imprisonment for life, is murder in the first degree. Murder which does not appear to be in the first degree is murder in the second degree. Petit treason shall be prosecuted and punished as murder. The degree of murder shall be found by the jury.

Thats all I could find.

June 28, 2005, 05:59 PM
Hollywood movies or the pistol? :p

June 28, 2005, 06:02 PM
1 retard has a ND, kills someone = first degree murder

13 cops open fire on a vehicle, 120 rounds, neighborhood, striking houses = reprimands.

it boggles the mind.

Standing Wolf
June 28, 2005, 06:29 PM
Welch had no formal training in handling handguns and instead relied on what he had seen in movies..

Learning from leftist extremist nitwits is never a good idea.

June 28, 2005, 07:07 PM
I have never heard anything referred to as "marijuana-fueled" before. Talk about an oxymoron! :D

And premeditation would be (at least in California) a "special circumstance" that could be used to charge first-degree murder. The difference between first- and second-degree murder is express vs. implied malice. Absence of malice would make the charge some form of manslaughter.

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