FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Allison D. Burroughs, U.S. District
A. Harwood and Donald A. Harwood, Esq. PC on brief for
Susanne Reardon, Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts,
and Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, on brief
Torruella, Thompson, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.
KAYATTA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Roman appeals from the district court's dismissal of his
habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 contesting his
state-court conviction and ongoing detention for first-degree
murder. The district court determined that the Massachusetts
Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) acted reasonably in concluding
that the evidence sufficiently supported the conviction. We
affirm for the same reason.
this appeal challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, we
recite the facts "in the light most compatible with the
jury's verdict, consistent with record support."
Leftwich v. Maloney, 532 F.3d 20, 21 (1st Cir. 2008)
(citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319
(1979)). We summarize here only those central facts
sufficient to explain our conclusion. A fuller recitation of
these facts are set forth in the SJC's opinion. See
Commonwealth v. Roman, 18 N.E.3d 1069, 1071 (Mass.
events underlying Roman's conviction took place in the
early hours of January 29, 2010 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. At
around 2:00 a.m., five men left a nightclub in a Nissan
Altima. Luis Soto, whose girlfriend owned the car, drove,
Angel Fernandez was in the front passenger seat, his brother
Felipe sat behind him in the right rear seat, Roman was
behind the driver's seat, and Shawn Tiago sat in the
middle of the backseat between Roman and Felipe. Soto drove
down High Street until Roman told him to turn right onto
Essex Street. Soto testified that, after he turned the car
onto Essex Street, he "heard a detonation." He
could not tell whether there had been more than one shot
because his ears were ringing.
immediately stopped the car and shifted it into park. Felipe
and then Angel got out of the vehicle and started running
toward High Street. Soto testified that he turned around and
saw Roman holding a gun in his right hand, close to
Tiago's head. Tiago slouched forward toward the front of
the car. After initially hesitating, Soto was the third
person to exit the Altima.
then got out of the vehicle, walked around the back of the
car, opened the rear passenger's side door, and leaned
inside. As Soto ran toward High Street, he heard another
shot. The car proceeded to Newton Street, where Tiago's
body was later found in the road with two bullet holes in the
left rear side of his head and one in his right temple.
government witness, Barbara St. Amand, who lived on Newton
Street, testified that she looked out her window after
hearing one or two gunshots and tires screeching outside. She
saw a man wearing a black hooded jacket, the same type Felipe
was wearing that night, pull something out of the rear
passenger side of the car and re-enter the backseat on the
Felipe, Angel, and Soto arrived at Sam's Food, a nearby
store on High Street. Soto and Angel went inside the store,
and Felipe stayed outside, close to the door. Roman called
Angel's cellphone at 2:04 a.m., and the call connected
for forty-four seconds. Roman, driving the Altima, arrived at
Sam's within two minutes ...