Commonwealth v. HowardAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for murder in the first degree on the theory of deliberate premeditation and declined to allow relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E. The Court held (1) the trial judge properly denied Defendant’s motion to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter based on sudden combat; (2) the judge’s reasonable provocation instruction was not erroneous; (3) there was no error in the judge’s instructions as to lesser included offenses; (4) the trial judge did not err in dismissing a nondeliberating juror toward the end of the trial; and (5) an error in a limiting instruction given after the judge allowed the Commonwealth to introduce prior bad act evidence was harmless.