- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - A judge has granted a new trial to a man convicted of killing a 10-year-old Boston girl while shooting at rival gang members.

Joseph Cousin was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2002 fatal shooting of Trina Persad as she and her siblings left a park in the Roxbury section of Boston. Prosecutors said the girl was shot in the face with a sawed-off shotgun fired by Cousin, then a member of the Magnolia-Intervale-Columbia gang.

The park was named after another child, Jermaine Goffigan, 9, who was killed when he was caught in gang crossfire in 1994.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said he will appeal the ruling from Judge Janet Sanders. The judge’s ruling, dated Wednesday, found that an attorney for Cousin had a conflict of interest because he represented Boston police officers before and during the time he represented Cousin at his second trial. Cousin’s first trial ended in a mistrial.

“The problem is that White had an economic or personal interest, at the time he represented Cousin, in remaining on good terms with the Boston Police Department, thus creating a substantial risk that the manner in which he represented Cousin could materially and adversely be affected,” Sanders wrote in her ruling.

Conley criticized the ruling and said it “does not question the integrity of the jury’s verdict or the sufficiency of the evidence.”

“The fact remains that Joseph Cousin armed himself with a loaded shotgun, pointed it out the window of a stolen car, and pulled the trigger, killing a 10-year-old girl in a playground named for another murdered child.”

Cousin’s appellate lawyer, Robert Shaw Jr., said the judge correctly found that Cousin’s trial lawyer had a conflict of interest. White’s firm represented Boston police officers in two federal civil rights lawsuits alleging police misconduct. Cousin’s case also involved similar allegations of police misconduct.

“The fact that the modus operandi for the District Attorney’s Office in losing a case is to attack the judge and try to smear the defendant is outrageous,” Shaw said.

“Joseph Cousin has been adamant from Day One that he had no involvement in this shooting.”



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