Jury touring scene, hears arguments in ’88 murder case

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FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Attorneys laid out their opening statements Wednesday in the trial of Daniel Tavares, who prosecutors say killed Gayle Botelho back in 1988. But a lawyer for Tavares told the jury he did not commit the murder — he merely revived a cold case investigation.

Tavares, 49, was indicted in 2013 for killing Botelho and burying her remains across the street from his own June Street apartment.

Prosecutors said Tavares was a cocaine dealer, and that Botelho was a user of the drug; and that she had been snorting cocaine at Tavares’s home when he grabbed her by the hair and stabbed her in the back of the neck, seven or eight times.

Tavares’s lawyer, however, said he had not been a suspect; he was the “star witness” over the course of a decade’s investigation.

Botelho’s daughter and aunt, and Andrew Phillips, a retired Fall River police officer, each took the stand Wednesday.

The jury was also set to visit Botelho’s home Wednesday, as well as the shallow grave where she was buried.

Tavares is serving a life sentence in Washington for killing a young married couple there in 2007; he also did time in 1991 for murdering his own mother, the Fall River Herald has reported.

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