A criminal defendant, by introducing evidence that he has turned into a model prisoner, has become a Christian and a different person than he was prior to prison, opens the door for the prosecution to use the defendant’s previous murder convictions at death sentence hearings, the Superior Court has ruled.

“Implicit in [defendant's] argument is the assertion that he loves his fellow man, respects the law of God and is non-violent. However, the commonwealth is entitled to present evidence, i.e., [defendant's] prior convictions, to the jury suggesting other or additional motives for [defendant's] good prison record and to rebut [defendant's] non-violent-character testimony,” Judge Correale F. Stevens wrote in Commonwealth v. Travaglia.

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