Jurors question sanity defense in Weymouth child murder trial

Jack Encarnacao

With autopsy photos flashing on a projection screen behind him, prosecutor Robert Nelson told jurors today that Ryan Bois knew what he was doing when he raped and killed his 6-year-old cousin.

“A monster came into the life of Joanna Mullin and this is what he did,” Nelson said.

Nelson and defense attorney Beverly Cannone delivered closing arguments this morning in the Weymouth murder trial.

Bois, 22, is accused of raping and killing Joanna in his grandmother’s Weymouth home in 2007.

After two hours of deliberations, the jury sent a question to the judge, asking whether a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity on one charge would automatically become the verdict for other charges against Bois. In addition to murder and rape of a child, Bois is charged with larceny, kidnapping, home invasion, and a number of motor vehicle charges.

Judge Janet Sanders and both attorneys agreed that the jury could come back with a different verdict on any of the charges.

Jury deliberations began shortly after 12:30 p.m.

In his closing argument, Nelson said that Bois’ behavior the night of the killing was an example of “the criminal mind at work.”

Nelson had tears in his eyes and his voice was shaky. He had to pause several times as he spoke.

He rejected the theory that Bois was insane the night of the crime.

“He had his faculties that day. He knew what he was doing. He was a criminal trying to get away.”

But Cannone told jurors that Bois is not a cold calculated killer.

“The only explanation I suggest to you is that Ryan Bois was suffering from mental illness, such that he was totally unable to control himself.”

She recounted testimony that showed Bois behaved irrationally the day of the killing, such as putting on his directional signal during the police chase and stopping to make the bed where Joanna was raped and killed.

“Doesn't it all come back to ‘why?’” she said.

She said Bois begged police to shoot him because he wanted to end the torment. She asked jurors to find Bois not guilty by reason of insanity, a verdict she said would send him to Bridewater State Hospital rather than prison.

“It’s likely he will be there for the rest of his life,” Cannone said.

The Patriot Ledger