Saturday, 2:15 PM
Jury convicts man in 1995 Dorchester slaying
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
A 30-year-old man has been convicted of manslaughter in an October 1995 slaying that touched off a civil war in Boston’s Cape Verdean community.
Arnaldo "Nardo" Lopes
Arnaldo “Nardo” Lopes was convicted today by a Suffolk Superior Court jury in the fatal stabbing of Bobby Mendes, 23, during a brawl on a Dorchester street. Sentencing was slated for 9 a.m. Friday before Judge Linda Giles.
Silence fell in the courtroom after the jury announced its verdict, while tears ran down the face of Lopes’s wife and Mendes's sister.
Lopes testified during the four-day trial that he acted in self-defense as Mendes and two of his cousins attacked him with pieces of metal and wood.
The prosecution disputed Lopes's version of events, alleging that Lopes, who was 17 at the time, was angry after being teased about a pending firearm charge.
Law enforcement officials say the Oct. 10, 1995 killing unleashed a wave of violence that included two dozen slayings and some 70 shootings.
Lopes had been on the run since the stabbing but was finally captured by Boston police in 2007 outside Baltimore.
After court was adjourned, Mendes's, mother who has turned her loss into a life as an advocate against violence, was too overcome to be interviewed. "I can't talk right now,'' said Isaura Mendes, who was accompanied by a son, daughter and Bobby Mendes's one-time fiancee, among others. "Not now.''
During the trial that began last week and lasted for 3 1/2 days, Lopes's supporters included his mother, his sister, and his wife. Clearly distressed by the verdict, they declined comment when leaving the courthouse.
Lopes's attorney, Kevin J. Reddington, said he was disappointed by the verdict because Lopes had acted in self-defense. He also said he hoped that when Lopes is sentenced the judge takes into account how he spent his years on the run -- not as a criminal, but as someone who was employed, got married, and bought a home outside Baltimore.
"I think he has shown his ability to pull himself out of the lifestyle he was involved in,'' Reddington said outside the courtroom. "He is a fine young man, married to a wonderful woman. ... He has a very, very supportive family and they will continue to support him. ...Things will work out for Nardo.''
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Dennis Collins, who prosecuted the case, welcomed the verdict but said he would have preferred if the jury had convicted Lopes of murder, which carries a sentence of life with the possibility of parole after 15 years in prison. "We're satisfied with the verdict. It was a tough case for the Commonwealth,'' he said. "They (jurors) did a nice job of evaluating the evidence.''
Lopes faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment on the voluntary manslaughter conviction when sentenced by Giles tomorrow.
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