The man who murdered an off-duty Suffolk County deputy sheriff as he protected bar patrons won’t be given a new trial.
Francis Lang’s appeal for another shot at freedom has been rejected by the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
Francis Lang appeal denied
“Lang contends that his trial counsel’s failure to investigate Lang’s mental health history constituted ineffective assistance of counsel,” the court states. The state Supreme Judicial Court and the district court denied his request.
The Appeals Court has now done the same: “We find that Lang has failed to establish a reasonable probability that trial counsel would have used the evidence of Lang’s mental health had counsel been aware of it. Hence, the failure to investigate caused Lang no prejudice.”
He will remain in MCI Cedar Junction, serving life without parole for the murder of Ricky Dever in 2005.
Dever, 35, was at Sullivan’s pub in Charlestown in March of that year when he was fatally stabbed protecting patrons at the bar, at the hands of Lang, an armed ex-con.
A packed event at Florian Hall drew more than 1,500 people and raised enough money for a scholarship fund in his name a year later just before the trial. A memorial to Dever and state Trooper Mark Charbonnier, who was shot dead by a parolee during a traffic stop in 1994, can be seen at the Neponset River Reservation in Dorchester.
Both law enforcement officers grew up in the neighborhood.
Lang, a career criminal, had been out of federal prison for just 22 days when he tried to enter Sullivan’s, a bar he had been banned from, armed with a knife to start trouble. Dever had escorted him outside when Lang pounced, stabbing the sheriff over and over before slashing him across the face.
Then he ran and hid.
A jury found him guilty of murder in the first degree. Still, the killer kept up his evil act saying in court that day: “Life is better than death. I’m doing better than Ricky.”
Brendan Dever, a Boston police officer, gave an emotional victim impact statement soon after about his slain brother.
“Words cannot describe how much loathing I have for you,” the cop told Lang. “You are nothing but a disgrace to Boston, to Charlestown, and to society as a whole.
“Ricky had the heart of a lion,” he added. “You’re a coward.”
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