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Chieppa found not guilty (MA)

1356 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Janq
Preface: Be sure to take note of the comments in the 'Reader Reaction' area at the bottom of this story.

As reported by

Chieppa found not guilty

March 26, 2007 4:55 PM

TAUNTON - A jury found Charles D. Chieppa, 57, not guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of a suspected burglar in 2004.

Jurors needed just over 3½ hours to return the verdict in a case where all parties say intent was the most crucial issue.

Mr. Chieppa remained impassive as the verdict was read. His family members, who filled up one side of the gallery, hugged each other and pulled out cell phones to share the news after court was dismissed.

The family of the slain burglar, Frank Pereira Jr. reacted in a manner just as emotional. His father, sisters and long-time companion wept at the verdict. As they exited the courtroom, sister Missy Cimbron yelled “you (expletive deleted) murderer” in Mr. Chieppa’s direction. Once outside the courtroom they pleaded with a victim witness advocate for any further legal recourse.

Defense Attorney Kevin Reddington packed up a box of evidence with Mr. Chieppa as the courtroom emptied out. Picking up the weapon Mr. Chieppa shot Mr. Pereira with, a semi-automatic Walther P38 handgun, he said “I’ll hang on to this for now.”

Earlier today witnesses in the case have said Mr. Chieppa awoke at about 4 a.m. June 17, 2004, to the sounds of an intruder in his 134 Ashley Blvd. home. After waking a tenant who rented a second-floor apartment, Mr. Chieppa went to his backyard with a semi-automatic handgun, according to testimony. There, he encountered Mr. Pereira, 24, who had apparently broken into Mr. Chieppa’s basement, according to testimony in the case.

Mr. Pereira was seen fleeing from Mr. Chieppa’s yard before collapsing in the street with a fatal bullet wound, witnesses said.

The intent behind that shooting took center stage in court today, with the prosecution saying it was anger, the defense saying it was fear, and Judge E. Susan Garsh telling jurors that whatever they decided about Mr. Chieppa’s motive would determine whether he faced murder or a lesser charge.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Bill McCauley said the circumstances behind the shooting show Mr. Chieppa’s intent. He pointed out that the defendant fired four rounds, and that the state Medical Examiner’s Officer determined that Mr. Pereira was shot in the back. Of the two shots that hit him, the fatal one entered through his back and exited his chest.

“This was anger, this wasn’t fear. He reacted that night in anger, it wasn’t fearful,” he said.

The prosecutor accused Mr. Chieppa of choosing to “take the law into his own hands,” saying he “decided if there was going to be a problem in his property, he would take care of it.”

Additionally, Mr. Chieppa’s tenant heard him yelling, swearing and asking if Mr. Pereira was trying to break into his house, Mr. McCauley said. However, that witness gave several accounts of the shooting in court last week, prompting Judge Garsh to later say his testimony was damaged.

As he has throughout the trial, defense attorney Kevin J. Reddington told the jury today that his client, a decorated Vietnam veteran, believed he was in mortal danger and that he was protecting himself when he fired on Mr. Pereira.

“When you consider his state of mind, when you consider the circumstances, this was a justifiable homicide by a citizen protecting himself,” he said.

Mr. Reddington also said Mr. Chieppa, experienced a “complete and total withdrawal emotionally” after the shooting, explaining grand jury testimony he gave in 2004 when he said he could not remember key details of the shooting and repeatedly said the gun ”just went off” in his hands.

The defense attorney also called witnesses today who testified about past encounters that shed a negative light on Mr. Pereira’s character. A Fairhaven man told the court he was in an argument with Mr. Pereira in 1995 and the then-15-year-old swung a baseball bat at him. A New Bedford man said Mr. Pereira broke his finger and stole money from him in 1998.

The jury began its deliberations at 12:20 p.m., after receiving instructions from Judge Garsh.

The story with pictures can be found at;

- Janq

Lesson Learned:

Self defense with it's very mortal consequences is serious as a heart attack.
I hear and read online postings of people who take this stuff lightly.
I'll shoot the first mofo who runs up on me looking like trouble...I wish a mother would try to bust in my house. I've got a 40w plasma rifle and some 50 BMG for 'em...blah, blah, uh huh yeah.
What about the after effects?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not for letting a crook take my shit. I work hard like the next guy to pay my bills too. Yes I'd be pissed if a crook ran up and stole my <fill in the blank> muchless broke into my home as well. But, at the same time...shooting a person even if it totally makes sense and is on the surface reasonable is not a guarantee toward a write off of 'good shoot'. Now what? Who pays for your criminal defense? What if you can't afford to retain Barry Scheck and have to use a public defender? Yep, troubles. Then there is the real pain of having your name and face in the news. Oh, and you better pray the dead guy has no family, no children, no kin, no friends, and has a first name of 'Diablo' even if his police arrest record is longer than War & Peace. Even Deebo had family and friends the liked him. What then?
I'm not saying it's better to let a bitch go but at the same time sometimes strageically a minor loss is less relative to the costs toward a win.
I feel bad for this guy, Chieppa, because it ain't over for him yet as no doubt next step by the BGs family is to drag him and his familys finances through a civil court preceding to bleed them dry and into the poor house by hook or crook over a crook. :(

This could very easily be me, you, or your neighbor...tommorrow if not tonight.
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sadly this was just the result of the criminal case - the civil case has yet to begin.
BTW I forgot to add, this just another example why it's critical that one keep their head under stress of a home invasion.
I'm not saying it'll be easy to do but it is necessary to temper ones anger or even fear with a healthy dose of reason and reasonableness. This very well might mean swallowing of our pride. :(

Otherwise you might find yourself shooting some guy through the back and zap next thing you know you're a "murderer" facing charges with the BGs family crying in the front row as they try to get you locked up forever, and take every coin you ever had or will have.
I'm personally fairly comfortable with exchanging an insured and wholly replaceable TV or car for my kids college fund or my own time and freedom, even as the deal is sour from the start.

This is serious business folks.
Lethal force is a measure of very last resort.

- Janq
Close one. I'd like to see a trial transcript or the police report.

I don't want to cheer "self defender" if he just smoked the guy for being in his yard. That's manslaughter at best.

If Perreira pulled the alleged knife on Chieppa, or advanced on him in a threatening manner (age / strength disparity 24yo vs. 60yo), it's probably a good shoot.
He was in Chieppa's house haviong broke in and Chieppa engaged him as the BG was exiting the house with vigor.
Some say he, Chieppa, did not have a good shoot as the BG was running out of the house (upon being seen) trying to make an escape from the homeowner who IIRC had his tenant with him in tow.
On the other hand folks argue, and IIRC Chieppa stated, that the first shot was from inside the house and that a second (I believe dude was shot twice) occurred just as he exited the basement door frame.

Personally I can't say I'd shoot at a guy/home invader running away from me and out of my house. the same time I can't in my heart of hearts blame the homeowner for doing so, moreso than I can blame the homeinvdar for invading.

This scenario worries me personally very much as I have so many damn doors severalof which are out of the way and I could easily see myself being this guy. Which is why after practicing trying to 'clear' my house, as famously detailed at OT an age ago to much comedy, I've decided with surety that only a moron would try to clear their own house unless they live in like a Jiffy John. It's just begging for big time troubles...especially at night.
Hear a noise/bump in the night or dog goes ape shit, grab a roscoe or to + spare mags, grab bedroom wireless phone and dial 9-1-1, move wife & kids to the secure room (BabyJanq's rearmost bedroom with only one way in or out aside from the windows, and wait for Sherriff Buford T. Justice and his big stick crew to ninja sneak through the house. If the BG makes off with a TV or DVD player, fuck it...thats why we have home owners insurance.

-Janq's life and freedom is worth more than a used TV
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Janq said:
Hear a noise/bump in the night or dog goes ape shit, grab a roscoe or to + spare mags, grab bedroom wireless phone and dial 9-1-1, move wife & kids to the secure room (BabyJanq's rearmost bedroom with only one way in or out aside from the windows, and wait for Sherriff Buford T. Justice and his big stick crew to ninja sneak through the house. If the BG makes off with a TV or DVD player, fuck it...thats why we have home owners insurance.

-Everyone's life and freedom is worth more than a used TV
This is my MO. If they get there and find nothing but some crap missing, the bad guys can have the crap, it's all insured. If the bad guys advance on me and mine, that's their bad, and the results won't turn out well. :(

I'd have a hard enough time living with self if I shot somebody in his frontside as he was closing the gap between me and him to do _______, much less if I plugged him in the back as he was carrying my TV out. That "Everyone" up there includes the life of the guy who's trying to carry off my used TV.
Agreed Wrigh.

Amazingly though, to me...nay us, there seems to be a lot of people on the internets and IRL who are nt of the same thought as based on their own statements if not actions.

- Janq
Again, I'm still skeeved by the number of shots vs. a burglar who may have been fleeing. I have read nothing so far about the dead mutt making any threatening moves or statements, or displaying the knife.

80% of us on this board would "be in possession of a knife" if we got shot in somebody's yard. It doesn't mean we had it out or intended to use it.

Naturally, I don't support the burglar's right to burgle. But I don't support the theoretical right to shoot him down in your yard if he's running like a scared bitch either. If that's what happened here, God help Chieppa in the civil suit.

Also, it makes me very uncomfortable when the mainstream pro gun lobby latches onto cases like this to champion the right to self defense. It's not cut and dried just because a jury found reasonable doubt. That does and has worked both ways, with clean shoots turning into felony convictions due to overzealous prosecutors, shabby defense attorneys, bad judge's orders, and dumbass juries.

See Janq's old thread on the guy who got chased in his truck.
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Agreed Fuzz...I too would prefer the gun lobbiest to not tout grey items like this as a basis for self defensiveness et. al.
As well I totally see where you're coming from withthe number of shots firead and him being hit through the back too. It does have a degree of sketchism to it. :|

If he did not have his tenant as a direct witness Chieppa would likely have lost due to the as noted otherwise sketchy surface situations.

- Janq
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