A man thrown in jail for refusing to testify against four men charged with murdering a teenager in 2007 can be tried for contempt of court and face additional jail time, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today.
Admilson Vizcaino would not face double jeopardy on contempt charges because the judge in the 2010 trial never formally entered her decision to jail him during the trial as a "sentence" in the court docket, the state's highest court ruled.
In 2008, Vizcaino, then 16, was one of five people indicted for the stabbing death of Terrance Jacobs at Blue Hill Avenue and Wilcock Street the year before.
Prosecutors dismissed the case against Vizcaino after realizing that he was a witness, not a participant, but then subpoenaed him to testify at the trial of the remaining four defendants. When he refused, citing the Fifth Amendment, prosecutors agreed to grant him immunity from any prosecution.
But then he still refused to testify, citing possible threats to himself and his family. The judge put him in jail for the duration of the trial and said prosecutors should bring a formal contempt charge against him, which they did.
The four men were convicted of second-degree murder.