Swansea Man Faces Retrial in 2003 Beating Death of 4-Year-Old

A Swansea man once convicted of killing his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son will get a new trial after his most recent retrial was interrupted by the alleged victim’s father, The Herald News reports.

The situation happened recently at Fall River District Court, where Eric Durand of Swansea faces a charge of first-degree murder. He was convicted in 2006, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned the conviction on appeal. During jury selection recently, the boy’s father disrupted the process, leading to his arrest. But the trial will go on.
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Murder charges in Boston and throughout Massachusetts are the most serious a person can face in the Commonwealth. According to the laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 265, Section 1, murder is carried out 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.”

While Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1984, murder is punishable by life in prison without parole.

Whether murder, or other serious felony charge, this case shows the importance of the appeals process and of the guarantee that every defendant has the right to a fair trial. That’s why hiring an experienced Fall River Criminal Defense Attorney is essential. In the event a conviction occurs, an experienced defense lawyer will understand the importance of preserving various issues for appeal. In some cases, a defendant can’t get a fair trial — and the impartiality of the appeals court will be critical in seeking justice.

According to the news article, Durand was convicted of killing Brendon Camara by crushing his stomach to the point that his small intestine detached from his stomach and his pancreas split. Durand was allegedly babysitting the boy and his twin brother at the time.

After being convicted in 2006, the high court overturned it and granted him a new trial after ruling a doctor shouldn’t have been allowed to be an expert witness because he hadn’t performed an autopsy on the child. Expert witnesses are deemed so by a judge at trial after hearing proof of such qualifications presented by an attorney — in this case the prosecution. The importance of having an expert witness is they are able to give opinions and tend to have more weight with jurors.

So, Durand is scheduled to go to trial a second time, despite interruption by the boy’s father, who was recently arrested on a charge of criminal contempt for entering the courtroom during jury selection despite a judge ordering him to leave, the newspaper reports. He was being held on $2,000 bail and if he makes bail he won’t be able to attend the trial. He will also have to wear a GPS tracking device and won’t have to leave his Fall River home. Camara was part of a group protesting outside the courthouse, according to the report.

Cases involving allegations of child abuse are among the most high-profile and high-emotion cases that occur in our justice system. And because of the attention they get in the news media, an experienced lawyer must be hired in order to fend off the allegations in court as well as in the public eye. While the defendant is only tried in the courtroom, media attention can influence prospective jurors and the opinions of the general public.

If you need to speak with an experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense lawyer, call Attorney Michael DelSignore at 508-455-4755 or 781-686-5924.

More Blog Entries:

Self-defense claimed in Wareham, Massachusetts assault that led to manslaughter charge: January 19, 2011
Additional Resources:

Victim’s father arrested at jury selection in Eric Durand retrial, by Grant Welker, The Herald News

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