BOSTON — The state’s highest court has overturned the first-degree murder conviction of William Shakespeare in the shooting death of a man who had taken his four-year-old son to a Mattapan barbershop in 2016 for a haircut.
Police said the victim, 31-year-old Marcus Hall was shot several times in front of his son inside the crowded barbershop on Blue Hill Avenue.
Shakespeare was convicted of the murder and a firearms charge in 2018, and sentenced to life in prison.
At the time, the four-year-old boy’s mother Shaika McIntosh told the court that “Not only did William take Marcus from us, he took my son’s innocence away.”
Relatives described Hall as a doting father who was dedicated to making positive changes in his community.
During the trial Shakespeare argued that another man, Mark Edwards, was the shooter.
In his appeal, according to the SJC ruling, Shakespeare argued “....that the evidence that the defendant committed the killing was insufficient; that the judge committed prejudicial error in failing to allow Edward’s grand jury testimony in evidence where Edwards was deceased and the evidence supported the defendant’s third-party culprit defense.”
Shakespeare also argued “...that Boston police Sergeant Detective Michael Stratton impermissibly testified about his observations of the video evidence; and that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to Stratton’s testimony and for pursuing a particular line of questioning with Stratton that the defendant alleges diminished counsel’s credibility with the jury.”
In it’s decision, the state’s high court agreed with part of Shakespeare’s arguments, despite there being sufficient evidence for his conviction, they said.
“We conclude that it was error to prohibit counsel from introducing Edwards’s grand jury testimony and that such error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.,” the SJC ruling says.
“As a result, we must reverse all the defendant’s convictions, as his convictions on the firearm charges were intertwined with his murder conviction,: the SJC said.
“Holding that the evidence was sufficient for the defendant’s conviction of murder in the first degree, however, we reverse and remand the case for a new trial,” according to the SJC.
“Because the remainder of the issues raised by the defendant may recur at a new trial, we address them and hold that Stratton’s testimony was admissible and counsel was not ineffective.” the SJC said.
Boston 25 News reached out to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office for a statement on the ruling.
A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said they were reviewing the court’s decision.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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