Commonwealth v. Golston, 366 NE 2d 744 - Mass: Supreme Judicial Court 1977.
About 2 P.M. on Sunday, August 24, 1975, the victim, a white man thirty-four years old, came out of a store in Dorchester and walked toward his car. Siegfried Golston, a black man of nineteen, walked behind him and hit him on the head with a baseball bat. The defendant then went into a building, changed his clothes, and crossed the street to the store, where he worked. When asked why he had hit the man, he said, "For kicks." The victim was taken to a hospital. There a large portion of the front of his skull was removed to relieve pressure on his brain, and he breathed with the aid of an artificial respirator. Later the victim died. Golston was charged with murder in first degree.
There was evidence of great and unusual violence in the act, which caused a 4 inch cut on the side of the skull. There is no requirement that the defendant know that his act was extremely atrocious or cruel which means he had no mens rea. When asked why he did it he said “for kicks.” He has actus reus because he hit the victim with a baseball bat.
The appellate court affirmed his conviction. Among numerous other errors, he claims that the death of the victim was not properly established. They said that the trial judge correctly accepted the medical concept of "brain death"; alternatively, any error in this respect was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. They also overrule the defendant's other assignments of error. Commonwealth v. Pinnick, 354 Mass. 13, 15 n. 1 (1968). Commonwealth v. Vanetzian, 350 Mass. 491, 493 n. 1 (1966).Commonwealth v. Macloon, 101 Mass. 1, 6 (1869). Commonwealth v. Parker, 2 Pick. 550, 558