Rapes and drugs dominate criminal docket at Superior Court
Several defendants who were indicted by the Dukes County grand jury on Tuesday, April 17, came before Judge John McCann for arraignment two days later.
Judge McCann is presiding over the spring Superior Court docket, for the session, which began April 17 and runs until May 4.
With only a handful of visitors in the audience, the Superior Court proceedings moved with less urgency than in the often-harried District Court. While Assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard, the prosecutor, tidied stacks of files on her desk and Superior Court Clerk Joe Sollitto took his place near the bench, the sun poked through the clouds for the first time in nearly a week, casting a halo over the four shackled men sprawled in the jury box.
Judge McCann entered the quaint courtroom just before 10 am. The first agenda item was a final pretrial conference for Richard J. Skrypczyk, who is charged with rape stemming from a June 2004 incident. A jury indicted Mr. Skrypczyk on April 18, 2006, and he was arraigned the following week.
Judge McCann conferenced with Superior Court Clerk Joe Sollitto, Assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard, and defense attorney Albert Daniels during the criminal session of the Superior Court last Thursday. Photos by Aubrey Gibavic
According to rule 36, which gives a defendant the right to a trial within one year of arraignment, Mr. Skrypczyk was originally scheduled for trial this session. But due to conflicts with an off-Island lawyer, and an out-of-state victim and witnesses, Mr. Skrypczyk waived his rule 36 right and will appear again in July. He is set to be tried next October.
Drug charges Thursday
Herbert L. Jackson was arraigned Thursday on one count of possession of a class "B" substance with the intent to distribute and a second count of operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license. He was held on $5,000 bail and will be back in court in July for a pretrial conference.
Mr. Jackson, 58, has a significant default record in both Massachusetts and Florida, and his criminal record goes back decades, Ms. Marshard told the court. His most recent default was last year, when he failed to register as a sex offender in Malden, after a conviction for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
He has spent time in a Florida state penitentiary for smuggling merchandise across the border, and there are other drug and assault charges on Mr. Jackson's record.
Scott Donovan, charged aggravated rape, spoke with his defense attorney Thomas Mello during a break in the Superior Court session last Thursday.
The charges Mr. Jackson was arraigned on Thursday stem from a search of Mr. Jackson's home by the State Police and Martha's Vineyard Drug Task Force, which turned up more than 12 grams of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and $500 cash. Police also discovered a plane ticket to Florida in Mr. Jackson's name. If convicted on these charges, Mr. Jackson faces a minimum of five years prison time, Ms. Marshard said.
Representing Mr. Jackson, attorney Thomas Mello gave a bit of history on his client, detailing family on the Island and his past career as a District Court Officer in Roxbury. He said that $5,000 bail would be sufficient to ensure Mr. Jackson's appearance in court.
Gregory B. Bray and Laurel B. Maciel appeared in court as co-defendants and we're arraigned on a series of drug charges. Mr. Bray was being held in the jury box, while Ms. Maciel appeared on her own, among the spectators in the courtroom.
The pair was arraigned on possession of a class "B" substance, cocaine, with the intent to distribute; possession of a class "A" substance, heroin; and two counts of possession of a class "E" substance. Ms. Maciel was arraigned on an additional count of possession of a class "A" substance, heroin. Class "E" encompasses a range of prescription drugs including codeine, opium, and diphenoxylate.
Mr. Bray and Ms. Maciel pled not guilty on all charges. They are both due back in court in July for a pretrial conference.
Lillian Haigazian was arraigned on nine charges of larceny, forgery and misuse of a credit card, with the intent to defraud an 80-year-old woman for whom she was caring.
Ms. Haigazian pled not guilty to all nine charges, which date back to 2004. Ms. Marshard explained to Judge McCann that the defendant had defrauded the elderly woman for approximately $97,000 over the period of a few years, and requested she be held on $2,000 cash bail.
And aggravated rape
Scott Donavan, charged with aggravated rape after an incident last summer, appeared in court Thursday for a pretrial conference. Mr. Donovan, who was arraigned on nine charges in August, waived his rule 36 right and is expected back in court on July 24 for another pretrial conference.
West Tisbury police arrested Mr. Donovan, 34, last August, following an investigation and search that involved multiple Island police departments and State Police. Mr. Donovan is accused of breaking into a West Tisbury home and violently attacking and raping a 36-year-old woman. During his arraignment, Mr. Donovan's bail was set at $1 million by Edgartown District Court Magistrate Liza Williamson. Ms. Williamson said at the time that that was the highest bail she had ever set in the Island court.
In August, Mr. Donavan was arraigned on nine charges: breaking and entering a dwelling at night to commit a felony; assault to rape; armed assault in a dwelling (a firearm); assault and battery; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a knife); assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a rock); kidnapping; aggravated rape; and larceny of a motor vehicle.