TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts’ highest court on Tuesday overturned the murder conviction of a man serving a life sentence after being found guilty of participating in the stabbing of a Taunton teenager.
The Supreme Judicial Court said prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jean Carlos Lopez was even present during the attack on 17-year-old Tigan Hollingsworth and ordered the lower court to enter a judgement of not guilty.
Lopez was convicted in 2013 of participating in the killing of Hollingsworth, who was stabbed 13 times after being chased from a convenience store in 2010, according to court documents. He was sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole.
Prosecutors did not allege that Lopez was the one who actually stabbed Hollingsworth, but accused him of participating in the crime. His brother, Etnid Lopez, and uncle, Erving Cruz, were also convicted in the stabbing.
Lopez’s attorney said they argued from the beginning that “Jean Carlos Lopez was not present when the victim in this case was killed and never, ever had any intention to kill anyone.”
“The assertions of guilt at trial were entirely inconsistent with the evidence presented. The whole of the government’s case as to Jean Carlos Lopez simply does not make sense nor stand up to scrutiny,” attorney Robert Shaw, Jr. said in an emailed statement.
Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, said the court has the final say in the case and that it must respect the decision.
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