BOSTON -- A man charged as a co-defendant in the death of a Woburn police officer during a department store jewelry robbery may be held criminally liable for actions committed by the shooter during his escape attempt, the state’s highest court ruled Wednesday.
A grand jury indicted Scott Hanright on 22 charges, including first-degree murder, after Officer Jack Maguire was fatally shot on Dec. 26, 2010, at a Kohl’s store jewelry counter.
Prosecutors allege Hanright, then 19, was a co-conspirator in a robbery orchestrated by Domenic Cinelli, who was killed in a shootout with Maguire.
A judge dismissed four assault charges and one firearms charge against Hanright, finding that there was insufficient evidence.
But the Supreme Judicial Court reinstated those charges, finding that Hanright may be held liable for the crimes Cinelli committed while attempting to escape -- including shooting Maguire -- if the state proves he participated in and intended those crimes.
"We have reviewed the evidence presented to the grand jury and conclude, contrary to the motion judge, that there is sufficient evidence to support the challenged indictments," Justice Francis Spina wrote for the court.
"Whether the defendant knowingly participated in, and harbored the intent required for, the escape-related crimes is a question appropriately left for trial.
The court also reversed the judge’s decision to prohibit prosecutors from going to trial against Hanright on theories of murder based on deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty, in addition to felony murder.
Hanright has denied that he played an active role in the robbery and specifically denied that he was to serve as a lookout. He claimed he went along with the plan because he was afraid of Cinelli and because he hoped to share in the proceeds from the robbery.
Hanright’s lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said she was pleased with the ruling.
"This is an important decision which allows us to fully prosecute the defendant for his participation in the brazen crime that took the life of a dedicated police officer. It was the actions of this defendant, in conjunction with those of others, which led to the death of Woburn Police Officer Jack Maguire," Ryan said in a statement.
"Our thoughts remain with the Maguire family and the Woburn Police Department as we continue to move forward with the prosecution of this case."
Two others charged
Two other men have been charged. Cinelli’s brother, Arthur Cinelli, has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit masked armed robbery and accessory before the fact. Prosecutors have said Cinelli sent his brother text messages with detailed advice on how to carry out the robbery.
Kevin Dingwell has pleaded not guilty to accessory after the fact of robbery and making misleading statements to police.
Police said Dingwell agreed to pick up Hanright near Kohl’s after Hanright called him from a borrowed cellphone.