By Benjamin Paulin
October 22, 2014

Note: This article was originally published on

brockton trial court

Brockton Superior Court. Photo: Mass.Gov®

BROCKTON – A jury was unable to come to a verdict Wednesday in a Brockton murder trial where a man is accused of killing a witness in 2010 who was going to testify in another murder trial.

Joao Fernandes is facing murder and several gun charges after police said he and Michael Goncalves killed Manuel Rodrigues the day before he was set to testify in the murder trial of a Brockton man. The case in being tried in Brockton Superior Court.

Rodrigues, 32, was shot six times on Feb. 17, 2010, as he stood on the porch of his girlfriend’s home on Nilsson Street in Brockton while leaving to go to work. Rodrigues, who drove a van carrying workers to job sites, witnessed the murder of Moises Vicente and testified willingly before a grand jury hearing evidence against the murder suspect, Michael Barros. Barros was convicted of first-degree murder in February and sentenced to life in prison.

Rodrigues was killed in retaliation for his cooperation with police, authorities said, by Fernandes and Goncalves, who were friends of Barros. Goncalves will be tried separately at an undetermined date once the Fernandes trial is over.

Fernandes’ attorney Daniel Solomon rested his case Wednesday morning. Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney Frank Middleton rested his case Tuesday.

Both attorneys gave their closing arguments Wednesday and the jury began their deliberations.

The jury will continue to deliberate this morning.

Benjamin Paulin may be reached at [email protected].

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