Closing arguments given in Brockton murder trial

Keith Luke was brought into Brockton Superior Court for closing statements in his murder trial. Luke’s attorney has maintained that his client was mentally ill at the time.
Marc Vasconcellos/Brockton Enterprise
Keith Luke was brought into Brockton Superior Court for closing statements in his murder trial. Luke’s attorney has maintained that his client was mentally ill at the time.

BROCKTON — Self-described white supremacist Keith Luke was not mentally ill when he went on a brutal killing spree in 2009 that targeted nonwhites, a prosecutor said Wednesday in his closing statements in Luke’s first-degree murder trial.

“He’s not in some catatonic, paranoid delusion,” Plymouth County prosecutor Frank ­Middleton told jurors.

Luke is on trial in the fatal shooting of Selma Goncalves, 20, and Arlindo DePina ­Goncalves, 79, who were not related. Luke, 26, of Brockton, is also accused of raping and shooting another woman.


That woman survived. The Globe is not identifying her because she is the alleged victim of a sexual assault. She sat in the courtroom next to her ­father during the closing statements, both with solemn ­expressions.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Joseph Krowski Jr., Luke’s attorney, has argued since the start of the trial two weeks ago that his client is not criminally responsible because he is mentally ill, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

But Middleton said in Brockton Superior Court on Wednesday: “It is overwhelming: On Jan. 21, 2009, he did not have a mental disease or ­defect; he wanted to kill and rape,” Middleton said in Brockton Superior Court. “There’s no pill that’s going to cure a man who wants to rape and kill.”

The jury deliberated from noon until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday before recessing for the day.

Luke allegedly targeted members of minority groups; all three victims are of Cape Verdean descent. He stockpiled ammunition and other items, prosecutors say, to carry out the rampage that gripped the city.


The woman who survived the attack testified during the trial that she expected to see her friend when she opened her apartment door that horrifying afternoon.

Instead, it was a former neighbor, Luke, the man she knew as “the fat guy who lived upstairs.” He pointed a gun at her face and forced his way ­inside, handcuffed her, pulled her hair, and, raped her, prosecutors say. Then he shot her five times as she clutched a large yellow teddy bear she hoped would shield her.

After shooting the woman, Luke turned and shot Selma Goncalves, who had just ­arrived at the apartment but had turned to flee, prosecutors said. She was shot three times in the back.

Luke then rushed to his black van outside, and as he drove away he shot Arlindo Goncalves, who was walking on Clinton Street, prosecutors said. After a wild police chase in which Luke shot at officers, he was subdued and arrested.

Krowski told jurors that Luke had been treated in his teen years and early 20s for mental illness and had indicated to doctors that he harbored a desire to rape and kill.


Luke had espoused neo-Nazi sentiment on the Internet, Krowski said, and believed he was on a list of white survivalists whom the government was planning to round up and ­detain in camps.

“He becomes paranoid that people are out to get him. He’s staying up all night walking around the house, changes his sleep patterns, terrified to sleep at night, tells his mother to stay away from windows,” Krowski said. “He sleeps on a crucifix made of cinder blocks.”

Hours after his arrest, Luke described to police his plot to invade the homes of nonwhites and kill them.

In the video of the interview, shown to jurors, Luke told officers he carried out his rampage because he felt whites were ­being degraded.

Brian Ballou can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globeballou.