At Scully & Lagos our fixed principle is to investigate, research and challenge every aspect of every allegation
Scully & Lagos defend all of their murder cases as a team, with Attorney Scully as lead trial counsel and Attorney Lagos assisting as second chair. They combine skills to make a formidable team determined to fight every aspect of the cases against their clients.
These are the most difficult cases to win. Its an area of law plagued by injustice in part because of the pressure on law enforcement to solve murders and get convictions is unmatched in any other area.
Attorney Liam Scully has been certified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Committee For Public Counsel Services as a "Murder List Attorney", an exclusive group of around 100 of the most experienced attorneys in the state.
Below is a survey of recent cases successfully defended by Scully & Lagos
Commonwealth v. Julio Pizarro, SUCR2017-CR-00045
According to Boston Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office Julio Pizarro was one of three people involved in a murder that happened outside of a 7-Eleven in Jamaica Pain.
The evidence was thin from the outset. The prosecutors lacked any identification testimony. They never recovered a gun. There was no physical evidence recovered from the scene such as DNA, fingerprints or the like.
However, the Commonwealth believed it had a strong circumstantial case which was built on surveillance videotapes, cell phone communications, cell site location information and motive.
The trial of this case took nearly six weeks to complete. Multiple motions to exclude evidence and limit so called expert testimony were litigated during the trial, with highly successful results. As a result of the successful motion practice, the prosecutor was left with a much weaker case than she hoped to introduce. The motive evidence was ruled hearsay and excluded. So-called gang membership was excluded. Crucial evidence about the alleged location of certain cell phones active and linked to the three defendants was limited by the Court's ruling.
A circumstantial case is akin to a puzzle. In order for it to hold up, all of the pieces have to fit together. But, in this case, the successful motions to suppress and exclude evidence left gaping holes in the prosecutor's case.
The jury in the case deliberated extensively for over two weeks and then returned the inventible and only correct verdict: Not Guilty.
On March 27, 2016, client's family had what was supposed to be a family party at a home in Mattapan. The party started out peacefully, but was attended by a few unknown guests who became drunk and unruly. Eventually these guests were asked to leave the party because of their behavior. One of them became defiant and insulting instead of leaving peacefully. This lead to a fist fight outside, which escalated further when the alleged victim pulled out a knife and stabbed the person he was fighting with. This lead to further escalation as our Client and many people from the party confronted the knife wielding man. Some people armed themselves with sticks. The knife wielding man eventually stabbed a second person. Then someone shot the knife wielding man with a .32 caliber pistol. As a he dropped to the ground, a number of the people who had been fighting with the man continued to hit, kick and strike him. He died on the spot. The cause of death was determined to be gunshot wounds, but the medical examiner testified that the beating he took after being shot could have sped up the dying process and made it less likely he could be saved by the EMTs who arrived shortly after. Some of the altercation was caught on video, including a segment of our Client kicking the man in the head after he had been shot. This led the Suffolk County District Attorney's office to seek and obtain an indictment for murder under the theory of Joint Venture. The trial in this case took four weeks, involved over 30 witnesses and included over 250 exhibits. The jury acquitted our Client after 4 days of deliberations, finding that although he did participate in the beating of the knife wielding man, he did not do so with the required intent to sustain a conviction for murder or even the lesser included offense of manslaughter. Accordingly, he received a sentence of 2.5 years in the house of correction.
Murder: NOT GUILTY
Armed Robbery: NOT GUILTY
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm: NOT GUILTY
Client was falsely charged with committing a murder during a robbery over marijuana in Brighton. Because of the alleged felony murder the defendant was facing a mandatory life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. Boston police built their case around a variety of circumstantial evidence including: two partial identification photo array procedures, incriminating text messages from the defendant's phone, recorded jail calls between the defendant and his then girlfriend, the GPS ankle bracelet worn by the co-defendant cross referenced with multiple telephone calls back and forth between the defendant, the co-defendant and the victim. The defense was mistaken identification. Trial in this case took nearly a month to complete with two full weeks devoted to crucial rulings on motions in limine and motions to exclude evidence. Those proceedings were followed by two weeks of trial and testimony from 24 witnesses. The jury acquitted the defendant after deliberating for three days.
Client was charged with First Degree Murder in Plymouth Superior Court, sitting in Brockton. Prosecutors alleged that the defendant killed his father with a single stab wound in front of the family home. In support of their allegation that the killing was premediated, prosecutors relied on evidence that the defendant had been charged with a series of prior assaults against his father, that he had made previous threats to kill, and that the defendant had left the home earlier that day, armed himself with a knife, and returned specifically to confront his father and make good on his threats. Attorney Scully, assisted in this case by his partner Attorney Claudia Lagos successfully negotiated a dismissal of the First Degree Murder charge on the first day of trial. The trial then proceeded with the Commonwealth alleging second degree murder. However, the defendant succeeded in obtaining a voluntary manslaughter verdict based on sudden combat. Due to certain undisputed facts in the case, including a full confession, there was no possibility of a self-defense verdict or an acquittal based on mistaken identity. The best possible outcome was manslaughter which was achieved.
Attorney Scully joined Attorney Stan Norkunas of Lowell, MA to defend to a Client who was accused of murdering his wife. The defendant had a long history of mental illness that was documented in multiple hospitalizations and extended treatments. An expert witness retained by the defense team reviewed the case and came to the opinion that the defendant was not able to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law at the time of the killing. The case was ultimately tried before a Judge of the Superior Court who agreed and found the defendant not criminally responsible.
MURDER: NOT GUILTY
Attorney Scully joined Attorney Stanley Norkunas of Lowell, MA to defend a Client who was wrongly accused in a shaken baby death case of killing his infant son. This case involved extensive expert testimony from medical doctors on both sides and in many ways fit the description of a “battle of the experts.” The prosecution relied on confusing, misleading and inaccurate testimony about the nature and extent of the injuries discovered in the autopsy. However, the defense effectively cross examined each witness, exposing all of the weaknesses in the their testimony. The case took nearly four years of pretrial litigation, involving hundreds of motions, that led up to almost four weeks of trial testimony. All of the hard work paid off when the jury sided with the defense and acquitted the defendant after less than a day of deliberations.
Attorney Liam Scully has been defending clients charged with Murder, Manslaughter and Homicide in state courts throughout Massachusetts throughout his career. He has compiled an impressive track record of success including not guilty verdicts and dismissals. Depending on the circumstances involved, the prosecution could charge you with one of the following:
- First-degree murder
- Second-degree murder
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Felony motor vehicle homicide
The prosecution will base its decision on the available evidence. That is why it is imperative to hire a well-qualified, experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. That is why defendants charged with any murder charge in the Boston, MA area should consult with Attorney Liam Scully as soon after their arrest as possible.
Attorney Scully's membership in the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys allows him to keep up with the latest techniques for defending murder cases. A well-drafted, pre-trial motion can undermine the State's case against you. The law enforcement officers and prosecutors are only human and there are times when they make mistakes or inadvertently take a short cut. Bringing this to a judge's attention could get your case dismissed or have you charged with a lesser offense.
Murder charges are long, drawn out procedures. Therefore, you and your attorney will be working together on your defense for quite a while. Below are just some of the steps that your attorney will need to assist you through:
- Bail Hearing
- Pre-Trial Investigation
- Grand Jury Indictment
- Pre-Trial Hearing
- Plea Negotiations
- Verdict (should you be found guilty)
- Pre-sentencing investigation and reports
- Post-conviction appeals, writs, and motions
Your attorney will need to have a staff of secretaries and paralegals to assist him with your case and Attorney Scully has a well trained staff ready to assist him at all times. Call (617) 307-5056 to discuss your case.