Joao Fernandes, 28, and Michael Goncalves, 25, have both been charged with the Murder of Manuel Rodrigues. Rodrigues, reportedly a key prosecution witness against Michael Barros, who is scheduled to soon be tried for the Murder of Moises Vicente, was shot multiple times at his girlfriend’s home on February 17.
Fernandes and Goncalves are alleged to hot cooperated jointly in the execution of Rodrigues. Brockton Police Officers, along with the Massachusetts State Police, FBI and DEA, had obtained a Search Warrant for Fernandes’ Brockton home yesterday. At the Brockton home, they discovered several weapon, and were then went to Taunton where they believed Goncalves could be located. Eventually, Goncalves was arrested in a car, in which was also located crack cocaine and a gun.
Both Fernandes and Goncalves were arraigned in Brockton District Court this past week on First Degree Murder Charges, several Gun / Firearms Charges, as well as Trafficking in Cocaine.
In many major felony cases, especially Murder cases, a testifying witnesses’ safety remains a major concern. What the media often portrays is the story that the person was killed for ‘doing the right thing.’ Prosecutors, however, know that witness safety is a tremendous concern, and I really question whether enough is being done to ensure their safety.
The reality is that protecting witnesses is not like it is in the movies. There are few times when the police are giving 24 hour protection, or if witnesses are actually relocated, such as in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Of all the murders committed in Massachusetts alone, few are really ever followed through to trial and reported extensively by the media, and so the concern for influence safety is, conversely, not great. Sure, the crime when committed is covered, and the various District Attorney’s Offices take the podium and make their speeches when an arrest is made, but soon thereafter, unless it’s a high profile case, it just becomes another case.
For the witnesses, however, what happens to them after they testify? The prosecution may or may not have gotten its conviction, but either way, it’s thank you and have a nice day. Should anything happen, it’s chalked up as just another grim statistic in the unfortunate reality of the world in which we live.
Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Crimes of Violence, including Murder, as well as Drug Crimes, such as Trafficking and Possession with Intent to Distribute.
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