Hugh Montgomery and Matthew Kilroy were both convicted of manslaughter. Adams, a defense lawyer until the end, negotiated Montgomery and Kilroy's sentences using old English precedent. They were given long jail terms but were eventually freed on appeal.
In England at that time, people didn't have lawyers during trial. They had "counsel" who would act as an advisor but not argue the case in court. In order to prove that they were not responsible for the crime, Adams' colleagues argued that he must be considered innocent until proven guilty. This is called "the presumption of innocence".
So the judge ruled that since there was some evidence that could lead to guilt (such as the fact that there were many witnesses) then Hugh Montgomery and Matthew Kilroy were found guilty of manslaughter. But since Adams had proved that he was not responsible for the crime then he was acquitted of all charges.
Here are the names of the men who were killed: John Parris, 26; Thomas Preston, 23; William Stout, 21; Isaac Rice, 25. There were also two boys who saw the whole thing happen from a distance who testified at the trial: Henry Kebble and Benjamin Tupper.
This was a provocation, for which the law reduces the crime of murder to manslaughter. The jury made a decision in less than three hours. There was no evidence of malice. All eight guys were acquitted of murder.
The Boston Massacre took place on March 5, 1770. A group of Indians attacked a column of British soldiers under the command of Major John Pitcairn. The soldiers were on their way home from Fort William Henry down the road from their garrison at Boston. This incident started the French and Indian War. It also led to the first military trial by court-martial. Seven of the Indians were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. One man was found not guilty. (He had been shot by one of the soldiers and was taken to a hospital where he died.) The men were executed between April and June. This is known as the "Boston Nine".
Here are some other important dates in US history:
1775 - American Revolution begins
1787 - US Constitution approved by Congress
1865 - Civil War ends
1913 - World's First Total Solar Eclipse Seen In America
1963 - Assassination Of President Kennedy In Dallas, Texas
Six of the soldiers were acquitted by the jury: William Wemms, William M'Cauley, Hugh White, William Warren, John Carrol, and James Hartegan. Hugh Montgomery and Matthew Killroy, the other two soldiers, were convicted not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, avoiding the death penalty. They were sentenced to seven years at Massachusetts Bay Colony Prison in Charlestown.
These six men had been part of a group of eight soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Benjamin Church who had been sent on February 15, 1747, to clear snow from the streets of Boston. When several hundred Native Americans gathered to protest the sending of the soldiers into their territory, a fight ensued during which three Indians were killed. The six soldiers who were later found not guilty of murder but only of manslaughter served less than nine months in prison before being released due to "poor health."
The Boston Massacre was one of several incidents during this time period where British soldiers used force against protesters in American cities including Philadelphia, Charleston, and New York City. These events helped lead up to the French and Indian War which began in 1755 and ended in 1763. During this war, France and Spain fought Britain for control of North America. The British victory in the war enabled them to keep control of their colonies.
In conclusion, the six officers and soldiers who were acquitted in the Boston Massacre trial included five white men and one black man.
Robert Treat Paine and Samuel Quincy represented the prosecution. John Adams, Josiah Quincy, Jr. (Samuel Quincy's brother), Sampson Salter Blowers, and Robert Auchmuty were among the defense attorneys. Both trials lasted more than one day, which was unusual for Massachusetts courts at the time. The judges allowed witnesses to give their opinions on whether or not the defendants should be found guilty.
In March 1770, a jury convicted all six men of murder. Four of them were sentenced to death and two received prison terms. The following year, the court reduced one of the death sentences to life in prison because of doubts about his guilt. The other three men remained on Death Row until they were pardoned by George Washington after he took office as president.
After the trial, people called the massacre "the Boston Affair" or "the Boston Tragedy". But since it wasn't the first tragedy of its kind and it didn't affect only Bostonians, I think the term "massacre" is appropriate.
Here are some of the most famous lines from Charles Dickens' American Notes: "The most interesting feature of this case is the utter absence of any motive that could possibly have induced the defendants to commit the crime." And later: "Such things are happening every day in America - why not here?"
The majority of the troops were acquitted, including Thomas Preston, who was declared not guilty since he did not order the shots. Two soldiers were convicted guilty of manslaughter and had their hands branded with the letter "M" as punishment. The event infuriated colonists such as Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. They organized boycotts of British products and started planning for war.
In addition to being accused of killing protesters without cause, the soldiers also violated sacred English law by shooting at women and children. However, since there were no police or civil authorities present at the time to file charges, none of the soldiers faced justice for these crimes.
After the trial, many people felt that the soldiers got off too easy. Some historians have said this shows that the colonists wanted to fight against England, but others say it is just an example of judges taking advantage of ignorant soldiers. No matter what you think about the verdict, one thing is clear: the colonists were not happy with the results and looked forward to fighting Britain in court.