At the 6 year anniversery, we learn more about the Linden Street murder trial
- NEEDHAM, MA When the merry month of May rolls into June, each and every year, I recall the murder of Laura Shifrina, now, six years ago, while residing in public housing, on Linden Street, Needham. I couldn't believe it, when it happened. More neighbors, have died, here, than any place I've ever lived. But not by murder. If you do not know the background to this story, please, click here for a bibliography of the murder, in 2017, and the trial, in 2021.
The new wrinkle, comes from Jim Burke, who is a Housing Authority tenant, and a neighbor on Linden Street. As an attorney, Jim had a professional acquaintance with, none other than, Robert L Jubinville, who, at 77, is the Clerk Magistrate of Framingham District Court, appointed by Governor Baker. At the time of the murder, Mr. Jubinville was on the Governor's Council, and, subsequently, told Jim the story of that time, when he was a public defender, representing Tammi Galloway, accused of murder.
The curious part of the tale, from Jim's telling, is that Mr. Jubinville was first given, and then released from, the Court assignment to represent Ms. Galloway. This was was very rare, if not, unheard of. Jim understood the reason for the change was that the client was not listening to the advice of her attorney, which was to plead to a charge of second degree murder, with twenty years in jail and the possibility of parole.
My question was, why did the accused, Galloway, refuse to accept any admission of guilt, and instead claim she was innocent, when the evidence was so strong and so clearly against her, regarding her involvement in the crime.
For an answer, I called the Clerk at Framingham District Court, and ask for Mr. Jubinville for elucidation. He called back, in about fifteen minutes, and said, he did, indeed, go to Ms. Galloway with an arrangement that she plead guilty, which she refused to do. He then went to the judge to say that it might be best that there be a change in counsel, at which point, Elliot Levine was appointed the new public defender for Ms. Galloway, who defended her as not guilty.
Mr. Levine's opening statement, once the trial began was that he was going to question the facts and suggest that someone else committed the murder and the prosecution failed to investigate other suspects.
In addition, not coincidently, at the trial, there were two women lawyers present, as visiting friends of the Court, who indicated, to me, a concern that Galloway, as a woman, was taking the fall for the crime.
My speculation is that, while there was not enough evidence too implicate anyone other than Ms. Galloway, there was DNA from two unknown men, taken from the fingernail clippings of the victim, and that, in her mind, Galloway, despite the evidence against her, felt not guilty compared to the two men, who likely committed the actual killing. On other occasions, the two men were seen, in the neighborhood, visiting Galloway, and were described as "big black thugs," which, of course, even in a mixed neighborhood, is still racist. Nevertheless, 0ne was identified, as her drug dealer, but there were no witnesses to the actual crime.
Of the two men, who were questioned by police, one died before the trial started, and the other "person of interest" cooperated with the police investigation and was not charged. There is more information in the court record, but the story remains incomplete and unresolved. In any case, I will not be knocking on the door of the only remaining suspect to get the rest of the story.
The questions that remain have to do with public housing, health care, drugs, criminality, police intervention, and community solutions.