BROCKTON — A man was ordered held without bail Tuesday for allegedly opening fire on a woman and fatally shooting her 14-year-old son in their home during a domestic attack.
Prosecutors allege that Justelino Resende, 38, of Brockton, critically wounded Felicia Williams, 39, and killed the teenage boy, named Nehemiah Cepeda, whom he had helped raise since he was 2. Resende and Williams have had an on-and-off relationship for 13 years, prosecutors said.
Resende, who has a long criminal history, faces one charge of murder and two counts of assault to murder. He pleaded not guilty in Brockton District Court.
Shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, police received a 911 call from a home on Tribou Street, prosecutors said.
The call was placed by a child who identified the shooter as her stepfather and said he had killed her brother, prosecutors said. The girl, along with other children in the home at the time of the shooting, told police Resende and their mother had had an argument on Monday night.
Resende, who occasionally lived at the home, packed his bags and left but returned around 10 p.m., wielding a pistol.
Williams was sleeping in her bedroom, prosecutors said. The 14-year-old was sleeping in her closet, as he often did, they said.
Resende fired several shots before reaching Williams, prosecutors said. Upstairs, he fired another shot into the closet to scare her, not realizing the boy was there, before shooting her twice, prosecutors said.
Before Williams was taken to the hospital, a police officer asked her who had shot her, a prosecutor said in court. “She stated Justelino Resende,” the prosecutor said.
After the shooting, Resende sat downstairs for roughly 10 minutes shouting “See what you guys made me do?” prosecutors said.
He then drove away and was arrested at another home, prosecutors said. He told police he had “tossed the gun” used in the killing but could not remember where, according to prosecutors.
Police said they believed they had found the gun Resende disposed of shortly before his arraignment. It was not clear where they found it.
Daniel Pond, a lawyer representing Resende, said his client had worked two jobs to support himself, Williams, and her children, including the 14-year-old.
“Mr. Resende is still suffering and he is still absolutely tormented by everything that has happened,” Pond told Judge Brian Palmucci. “This is a man in crisis, right now, as he was last night.”
Pond requested cash bail but noted Resende’s family would not be able to afford more than a couple thousand dollars.
Resende held his shirt over his mouth as prosecutors read police testimony, bringing it to his eyes to wipe away tears. When prosecutors read an account of the alleged shooting of the 14-year-old, he dropped his head and sobbed.
“This is, of course, a turning point in his life,” Pond said, emphasizing that Resende showed immediate remorse, had not intended to kill the teenager, and later allowed himself to be arrested.
After the arraignment, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz told reporters Williams had undergone multiple surgeries but he did not have an update on her condition.
He said cases of domestic violence often go unreported, especially when the aggressor is the main breadwinner of the family. Cruz said there were previously “some allegations of complaints [between Resende and Williams] but that they did not go forward.”
Resende previously served 18 months for a firearms conviction.
“Today, the focus should be on the family of the woman who is still in the hospital now,” Cruz said. “Never forget that people need to be held accountable for their actions.”
Neighbors said they were shocked about the shooting. One woman, who said she has lived in the neighborhood for more than a decade, said she hears about crime in other parts of Brockton but that violence had never happened so close to home. She was relieved to hear police had made an arrest.
“I hope they find what they’re looking for,” she said.
On the door of Williams’s home hung a wooden sign, adorned with a picture of a blossoming bouquet, that read “Welcome Spring.”