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Man found guilty in 1988 homicide of Fall River woman

Daniel T. Tavares Jr. (right) appeared at his arraignment in September 2013.
Daniel T. Tavares Jr. (right) appeared at his arraignment in September 2013.George Rizer for The Boston Globe/File/Globe Freelance

A man who killed his mother in Somerset in 1991 and murdered a newlywed couple in Washington State in 2007 was convicted Tuesday of slaying a 32-year-old mother of three in 1988 when they were neighbors living in Fall River.

Daniel T. Tavares Jr., 49, was sentenced in Bristol Superior Court to life without the possibility of parole for the death of Gayle Botelho, who disappeared in 1988 and was considered a likely missing person case until Tavares told authorities where her body could be found in 2000.

Jurors deliberated for about four hours over two days before reaching the guilty verdict around noon Tuesday, authorities said.

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Tavares was not charged with killing Botelho in 2000 because then-Bristol District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr. said Tavares blamed the killing on two other men and he had no evidence to contradict his claim.

However, in 2013 a witness who was Tavares's alibi recanted and agreed to help Walsh's successor, then-Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter to pursue the murder case against Tavares. The prosecution of Tavares continued under Sutter's successor, the current Bristol district attorney, Thomas M. Quinn III.

"I hope the defendant's conviction gives the family some closure. They will never have Gayle Botelho back, but the jury has held accountable a very dangerous person," Quinn said in a statement.

Through miscommunication and mistakes by Massachusetts authorities, Tavares was released from state prison in 2007 where he had been serving a 20-year sentence for stabbing his mother 15 times in their Somerset home in 1991, killing her.

Before authorities in law enforcement and the court system recognized that he should not have been released, Tavares fled to Washington State where he murdered his neighbors, newlyweds Beverly and Brian Mauck, the Globe has reported.

He pleaded guilty to killing the couple and is serving a life without parole sentence in Washington State.

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Quinn said in his statement Tuesday that Tavares "deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison and should never be released."


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter@JREbosglobe.