WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The man convicted of killing a jogger in Warwick City Park nearly a decade ago has been sentenced to life in prison.
Michael Soares was found guilty earlier this year of murdering 66-year-old John “Jack” Fay.
Soares’ attorney made an appeal to try to vacate the judge’s verdict from the bench trial, but the motion was denied.
“We feel that the life sentence was fair for the crime he committed,” Fay’s niece, Melanie DuPont, said Friday.
DuPont read a statement on behalf of Fay’s daughter, Meghan. He said the family struggled with two questions: why someone would kill him, and who killed him?
“Those questions would go unanswered for the next five years and nine months,” DuPont said. “Michael Soares had five years and nine months to come forward and he chose not to.”
Fay, a retired postal worker and Vietnam veteran, had gone out for a jog when he was stabbed and beaten to death on May 16, 2013.
His body was found stuffed in a barrel the following day, and the murder weapons — a knife and a small sledgehammer — were located nearby.
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The killing went unsolved for years until DNA evidence linked Soares to the crime. He was arrested in February 2019.
Fay’s family said while they learned who killed him, they were never satisfied with Soares’ reasoning and say he lacked remorse.
“He tried to justify murdering my uncle,” DuPont said. “There’s no justification for that.”
Addressing the court, Soares said he acted out of desperation that day.
“Although some of you believe I am a monster for the action I took, I disagree with such conclusion,” Soares said in court.
“My mental condition and these experiences convinced me I was facing an overwhelming, evil, supernatural situation and imminent death,” he continued. “If I could undo the attack on Mr. Fay, I would.”
Soares’ parents said they will continue being there for their son.
“There’s no winner on either side, again, and I’ve stated this repeatedly, where our emotions, and unfortunately my son’s emotional in his mental health state where the empathy, because of schizophrenia, it’s not there, and unfortunately, nobody understands that,” his father Michael Soares said.
“He always has our support,” his mother Lynn Soares said. “He didn’t ask to be ill. He didn’t choose this.”
Fay’s family said that while they continue to work through their grief, the judge’s ruling on Friday was another step toward closure.