Earlier today, I wrote about this story in the Boston Herald. At that point, I focused on the irony of a gang member and twice-acquitted alleged murdere who fled Boston for North Carolina, only to be shot and crippled in a drive-by shooting.
But looking further into the story, we get a few details on Marquis’ Nelson’s prior history, and boy oh boy is it enlightening about the Massachusetts criminal justice system.
In December 2000, Nelson was acquitted of killing a 21-year-old man for the unforgiveable sin of refusing to surrender his cell phone, despite the testimony of eyewitnesses. And in December 2004, four years to the day of that acquittal, a second jury found him not guilty in a drive-by shooting that missed its target and instead killed a 10-year-old girl. That trial was marked by audience members showing up wearing “STOP SNITCHING” T-shirts and the post-trial discovery that five of the jurors had lied about not having criminal records that would have excluded them from serving — including one juror who had an outstanding arrest warrant, yet strolled into and out of court every day of the trial.
That little incident started the practice of doing background checks on all jurors in Massachusetts — something that should have been done years ago.
Once again, I’m reminded that if I ever feel the urge to commit a crime, the smartest thing I could do would be to wander down across the state line and do it there.
And if, by some miracle, I am caught, I’ll just claim to be an illegal alien.