Massachusetts father surrenders in hockey rink killing
July 12, 2000 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Massachusetts father surrenders in hockey rink killing A local story for me, but a scary one at that. The story is that Junta fought the hockey coach after the game because the game was too rough. This was after he had been kicked out by the rink manager. He then proceeded to beat the coach unconscious, in front of the kids, and the coach later died. His plea is self-defense. Yeah, he left the rink, came back, beat up a guy who was 100 pounds lighter, and pleads self-defense.
posted by jmackin (7 comments total)
The scary thing is that from what I have read in the local papers here in Minneapolis, they are only going to charge him with manslaughter.
posted by Popstar at 9:57 AM on July 12, 2000

I think there is probably more to the story than was reported here. I do not think it was this guys intention to kill the guy, so manslaughter may be justified, tho if this was my relative I'd want him charged with a hate crime and executed. I heard the subject being discussed on the radio the other day, and the host mentioned that the victim was a violent sort who was in and out of prison many many times in the last ten years. Mostly for assault and robbery. It could be he picked the wrong guy to mess with, and the wrong guy stupidly would not let it drop. The article does not give many facts about how this started. Always be polite to others.
posted by thirteen at 11:04 AM on July 12, 2000

What would you like him to be charged with?

These are the Pennsylvania statutes (couldn't find Mass.), but I believe they are fairly standard:

ยง 2501. Criminal homicide.

(a) Offense defined.-A person is guilty of criminal homicide if he intentionally, knowlingly, recklessly or negligently causes the death of another human being.

(b) Classification.-Criminal homicide shall be classified as murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter.

ยง 2502. Murder.

(a) Murder of the first degree.-A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the first degree when it is committed by an intentional killing.

(b) Murder of the second degree.-A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the second degree when it is committed while defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice int he perpetration of a felony.

(c) Murder of the third degree.-All other kinds of murder shall be murder of the third degree. Murder of the third degree is a felony of the first degree.


(a) General rule.-A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits voluntary manslaughter if at the time of the killing he is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by:

* the individual killed; or
* another whom the actor endeavors to kill, but to negligently or accidently causes the death of the individual killed.

Back to me:

First, it is manslaughter, even if it's some other murder as well. But to prove it's murder, you need to prove the other things in the definition of murder as well. If you want to prove 1st degree, you must prove deliberation... which will be impossible in this case, as deliberation tends to imply more time then was involved in this case. Second degree is right out. Third degree perhaps, but the burden of proof is still higher then manslaughter (don't know the details on that one).

When you can nail him more-or-less-100% reliably (if the alleged perp. did it [I say this for legal reasons]) on manslaughter and expect to see the full penalty applied, why go for a murder charge that is not 100% guarenteed? Go with what will work. You only get one shot to get him into jail before double jeopardy protections kick in.
posted by Jeremy Bowers at 11:12 AM on July 12, 2000

The local (sports) talk shows had mentioned that it was between manslaughter and murder 2. I agree that the ease of conviction may have come into play.
There has also been talk about the victim's past, although the 'perp's' past is also questionable, with several cases of him being released 'without a finding'. Perhaps he has connections, or is just lucky.
Some poeple are upset because Junta was released on $5k bail. Seems pretty low for this sort of crime.
The DA was also on the Louise Woodward case (the au pair that was accused and convicted of killing a child).

I wouldn't be surprised to see a plea in this case.
posted by jmackin at 11:21 AM on July 12, 2000

I don't really see how the victim's past comes into play. Plenty of witnesses were present and the facts of the case are well known.

The guys got into an argument during the hockey practice, they took it to the locker room, and the dispute ended when the rink manager kicked out Junta. Junta stuck around and confronted the victim in the lobby of the rink after practice. It was then that he beat the guy to death.

If Junta had left the premises as ordered, the murder never would have occurred.
posted by rafeco at 11:50 AM on July 12, 2000

There is no question Junta should have left, and he certainly should not have killed the guy.
I do not think the victims past justifies killing him, I mentioned it to suggest he might have been the one who first turned it into a violent situation. I understand he did not fight back at all in the second (and deadly) encounter. Without the facts made clear, it is easy to imagine he started something he could not finish. I am not defending the killer, he crossed the line, he should pay for his crime.
posted by thirteen at 12:06 PM on July 12, 2000

An earlier story (forgot the source, sorry) suggested that it was all at the victims initiation, most witnesses believed it was self-defense, etc. You actually can't usually get a good picture of what went on in a case like from reading the papers.

(And talk about bringing up the past: they mentioned not only the victim's criminal history, but that the victim's father was convicted of killing one of his other sons 25 years ago.)
posted by sylloge at 12:21 PM on July 12, 2000

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