BOSTON, Jan. 28, 2016—Three men who murdered 16-year-old Terrance Jacobs nine years ago in retaliation for an earlier stabbing will not receive a new trial, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said today.
A Massachusetts Appeals Court panel today issued a decision upholding the second-degree murder convictions of PEDRO ORTIZ (D.O.B. 8/8/79) and TERRANCE PABON (D.O.B. 1/22/90), both of Dorchester, and MARKEESE MITCHELL (D.O.B. 4/9/91) of Brockton. A fourth man, PAUL GOODE (D.O.B. 1/9/83) of Dorchester, who was also convicted of second-degree murder for his role in Jacob’s 2007 killing, was not party to the appeal. All four men were found guilty at the conclusion of a joint trial in 2010.
Among their claims on appeal, the Mitchell and Pabon argued that their individual statements to Boston Police homicide detectives should not have been introduced during trial, with each claiming that their statements were not made voluntarily. The justices determined that the statements were in fact made willfully and voluntarily and that a Superior Court judge rightfully allowed jurors to hear the statements. The justices further noted that Pabon’s interview was conducted in his mother’s presence and was recorded from start to finish, and that Mitchell was interviewed with his father and grandfather present and that he specifically declined to have it recorded.
The justices likewise found no error in the admission of statements Goode made to detectives. The statements, in which names of the co-defendants had been redacted, did not inculpate Mitchell, Pabon, or Ortiz, and the trial judge properly instructed jurors that the statements could only be considered in determining Goode’s guilt.
In his appeal, Ortiz also claimed that one of the jurors was biased against him. A Superior Court judge determined after an evidentiary hearing that the claim lacked merit, and the justices agreed.
The justices also found that a prosecutor’s statements during closing arguments were proper, as were the trial judge’s instructions to the jury.
“The record is clear that each of these defendants received a fair trial based on the evidence,” Conley said. “It’s equally clear that the jury’s verdicts reflected the brutal facts of a 16-year-old boy being beaten and stabbed by a mob.”
During a trial that spanned four weeks, Suffolk prosecutors presented evidence and testimony to prove that Ortiz, Pabon, Mitchell, and Goode took part in a May 22, 2007, assault on Jacobs in retaliation for the stabbing of a 14-year-old who was known to the defendants. While a criminal case was pending against Jacobs for that incident, the defendants and others arranged for what was expected to be a one-on-one fight in the area of Wilcock Street in Mattapan. However, after he arrived, the altercation grew, ending with the defendants chasing Jacobs through traffic and then beating and stabbing him 20 times in the chest, back, legs, arms, and hands.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Hallal, chief of the DA’s Senior Trial Unit, prosecuted the case at trial. Assistant District Attorney Amanda Teo of the DA’s Appellate Unit argued the case on appeal. Ortiz was represented on appeal by Richard Klibaner, Pabon by Richard Goldman, and Mitchell by Jeanne Kempthorne.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.