July 17, 2024

Crime

Rodney Daniels has been discovered responsible of capturing and killing Patricia Moreno on the hearth escape outdoors the house she lived in together with her foster household.

Patricia Moreno, 17, was murdered on June 20, 1991. Middlesex County District Lawyer’s Workplace

A jury has discovered a 50-year-old Georgia man responsible of first-degree homicide for killing a 17-year-old Malden woman in 1991, concluding a 32-year-old chilly case that the Middlesex County District Lawyer’s Workplace introduced again into the highlight two years in the past.

Rodney Daniels was convicted of capturing Patricia “Tricia” Moreno within the head whereas she stood on the hearth escape outdoors her house on July 20, 1991, the district lawyer’s workplace mentioned in a press launch Wednesday.

“When a household loses a cherished one in a murder, even the passage of time by no means totally heals that wound. That’s very true when they don’t have solutions about what occurred and nobody has been held accountable,” District Lawyer Marian Ryan mentioned within the launch. “Those that knew and cherished Tricia have been ready over three a long time for solutions.”

The preliminary investigation

On the evening of Moreno’s demise, police responded to the third-floor house at 21 Henry St. in Malden that she shared together with her foster mom, the foster mom’s two teenage daughters, and Daniels, who was the older daughter’s boyfriend, the discharge mentioned.

Police discovered Moreno with gunshot wounds to her head. First responders rushed her to a hospital, the place she died of her accidents, the discharge mentioned.

The opposite individuals within the house on the time informed police they heard a pair of gunshots however had no thought who had shot Moreno, the discharge mentioned. There was no proof of compelled entry into the house.

When the police first interviewed Daniels, he mentioned he’d been sleeping in an armchair in the lounge when the gunshots woke him up, the discharge mentioned. He then went out onto the hearth escape and noticed what had occurred to Moreno, he informed police, although it was her foster mom who known as 911 that evening.

Police quickly realized that Daniels’s owned a handgun that matched the bullet that killed Moreno and that he’d “engaged in threatening conduct” towards her within the weeks earlier than her demise, the discharge mentioned. Nonetheless, they had been unable to acquire sufficient proof to make an arrest.

A brand new investigation

Authorities started reinvestigating the case in 2020 after Ryan reopened the district lawyer’s workplace Chilly Case Unit the yr prior.

Investigators reconstructed the scene and decided that, based mostly on the place of the entry wound and the trajectory of the bullet, the shooter was standing within the doorway of the house, the discharge mentioned.

In addition they started interviewing witnesses once more and received involved with a brand new witness who lived within the house under Moreno when she was murdered, the discharge mentioned. He informed them that on the evening of the homicide a loud noise woke him up.

He instantly regarded up by means of the third-floor hearth escape and noticed a younger girl, who was later recognized as Moreno, struggling to breathe, and a person, whose description matched that of Daniels, standing over her, the discharge mentioned. The witness watched as the person then retreated again into the house. 

Investigators additionally found that an alibi witness, who had protected Daniels in 1991, later admitted to her family and friends that Daniels had killed Moreno, the discharge mentioned. She additionally mentioned he hid the homicide weapon inside an armchair and later disposed of the gun.

That witness, who’s now lifeless, admitted that she lied to police and a grand jury in 1991 to guard Daniels, the discharge mentioned. She mentioned that, even a few years later, she was afraid to reveal what she knew for concern of being prosecuted.

With the brand new proof, prosecutors obtained a warrant for Daniels’s arrest from Malden District Court docket. He was arrested in his South Fulton house in Georgia in September 2021, arraigned as a fugitive from justice, after which transported to Massachusetts.