Contact: Beth Stone- (508) 584-8120
BROCKTON – Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has announced that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today affirmed the conviction of Amaral Montrond (DOB: 7/4/78) of Brockton in the fatal shooting of Carlita Chaney in 2007.
On August 16, 2007, Montrond fatally shot Chaney inside his family’s Brockton home. Chaney, then 27, was Montrond’s former girlfriend and mother of his two children. Chaney had ended her relationship with Montrond in 2002 and relocated. In 2006, Chaney, who was then living in South Carolina, notified South Carolina authorities that Montrond was named to a wanted list through “MassMostWanted” for a Brockton shooting and that Montrond was currently staying at her home. Montrond was arrested on Chaney’s information and brought back to Massachusetts to face charges.
Ten months later, in the summer of 2007, while Montrond was out on bail, Chaney brought her two children to Brockton for a summer visit with the Montrond family. For part of that visit they were staying at the house of the defendant’s parents. On August 15, 2007, the victim was at that house when she spoke to her sister over the phone and told her that the defendant had basically called her a snitch. Within an hour of that phone call, the defendant shot the victim once in the head, killing her instantly as she lay on the couch.
In November, 2009, after an eight-day trial, a jury convicted Montrond of First Degree Murder, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition. Montrond was also convicted, in a subsequent jury-waived trial, of being an Armed Career Criminal. For his conviction for First Degree Murder, Montrond received the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. On the consolidated judgments for the offenses of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and being an Armed Career Criminal, he was sentenced to a concurrent 7-10 year sentence. He was sentenced to a concurrent one-year sentence on the ammunitions charge.
In July 2012, Montrond filed a motion for a new trial on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel and a violation of his right to confrontation under the Sixth Amendment. That motion was denied and consolidated with his direct appeal.
On appeal, Montrond claimed that his counsel was ineffective for failing to offer evidence that he was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the shooting and for failing to object to the victim’s sister’s testimony that she saw Montrond on “MassMostWanted” Network. Montrond also claimed his counsel failed to object to some testimony from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
In today’s decision, the SJC concluded that there was no error requiring reversal and affirmed all of Montrond’s convictions. With specific regard to the defendant’s claim that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to introduce evidence suggesting that he was intoxicated on the night of shooting, the SJC held that the decision not to introduce that evidence was manifestly unreasonable, however, the Court was “substantially confident that, had this error not been made, the jury verdict would have stayed the same” in light of “solid evidence of the defendant’s motive.” The Court further held that even if the motive evidence “had been less powerful,” the evidence of intoxication was “tepid at best” and “hardly would have given rise to a compelling inference that the defendant was so intoxicated he could not appreciate the need to check the safety lock before pointing a loaded gun at someone’s head and pulling the trigger.”
As to the references to Montrond being listed on “MassMostWanted,” the SJC found counsel’s failure to object to those references was error, however, they were “‘substantially confident,’ that the references to MassMostWanted did not alter the jury’s verdict.” The SJC also found that the trial counsel’s failure to move to strike the medical examiner’s testimony was not ineffective. The SJC lastly found that the admission of the medical examiner’s testimony concerning the results of the toxicology report was error because it was testimonial, however, the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
“I am pleased that the SJC has affirmed Mr. Montrond’s murder conviction,” DA Cruz said. “Our thoughts remain with the family of Carlita Chaney and hope that today’s decision can finally bring some measure of justice to them.”
The case was investigated by Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office and Brockton Police Detectives. The Appeal was handled by Assistant District Attorney Laurie Yeshulas.