The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld the first-degree murder convictions of two men for luring Richel Nova to a vacant house on Hyde Park Avenue in 2010, stabbing him 16 times, then fleeing in his car with a blood-stained pizza box, the contents of which they ate.
The ruling means that Alexander Gallet and Michel St. Jean will spend the rest of their lives in prison without the possibility of parole.
Gallet argued his conviction should be overturned because he was just 18 at the time of the murder and had a low IQ that prevented him from understanding his Miranda warning when he was arrested. St. Jean argued that he was guilty of, at worst, second-degree murder because he did not participate in stabbing Nova, did not know Gallet would do so and that redacted portions of Gallet's statements to police would have cleared him.
The third person in the case, Gallet's girlfriend, Yamiley Mathurin, pleaded guilty to manslaughter as the jury was deliberating; the SJC did not include her in its case review.
In its ruling today, the state's highest court rejected all of the two men's objections to their verdicts.
A review of Gallet's interview turned interrogation with police showed he clearly understood his Miranda rights, the justices ruled, adding that has IQ wasn't low enough to keep him from taking college-preparatory classes in high school - and that the only reason his grades had been going down appeared to be because he had stopped going to classes.
In St. Jean's case, the justices pointed to the blood on St. Jean's clothes and shoes and said that even if St. Jean did not stab Nova, he was guilty of at least active participation in planning his death - including leading Nova to the rear of the 742 Hyde Park Ave., and up the stairs to a vacant apartment, where he was fatally stabbed.
The justices did agree with St. Jean's lawyer should have been allowed to cross-examine a medical examiner on how he thought St. Jean might have gotten what appeared to be knife wounds on one hand - the judge would not allow it - but said there was enough evidence against St. Jean that it wouldn't have mattered.