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Father charged in killing of daughter, 19, in New Bedford

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Walter DaSilva appeared in court in Bridgeport, Conn., on Monday.Ned Gerard

A Connecticut man was charged Monday in the fatal shooting of his 19-year-old daughter in New Bedford, and prior court documents outlined his history of violent threats against his estranged family over more than a decade.

Authorities charged Walter DaSilva, 45, in the death of Sabrina DaSilva, who was shot multiple times outside the apartment she shared with her mother and young daughter on the evening of July 3. He was also charged with carrying an illegal firearm and unlawful possession of a loaded firearm.

An alleged motive in the killing has not been released.

"This homicide case is particularly chilling because it involves a father being accused of killing his own daughter," Thomas M. Quinn III, the Bristol County district attorney, said in a statement. "We look forward to prosecuting this defendant . . . for this very disturbing case."


DaSilva, a Brazilian citizen residing in Danbury, Conn., was previously convicted of attempted murder for attacking his estranged wife, Lilian Silva, with a knife in Weston in 2002, according to documents from Middlesex Superior Court. DaSilva was in the country illegally then, having been deported in 1999 for abusing Silva, the documents said.

DaSilva was sentenced to eight to 10 years in prison, and the couple divorced in 2005. In February 2012, DaSilva was released to immigration officials, according to the state Department of Correction. Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could not be reached Monday.

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In May 2012, a probation warrant was issued for DaSilva, according to the court documents.

DaSilva was arrested Friday while working on a construction project in Bridgeport, Conn. He was charged with being a fugitive from justice, the charge stemming from a probation violation in the attempted murder of Silva in 2002, according to a deputy US marshal, James Masterson.


On Sunday, he was identified as a person of interest in Sabrina DaSilva's death, Masterson said.

Lilian Silva said she believed DaSilva was the only person who could have harmed her family.

"I thought he was in Brazil, but he came back" to New England, Silva said in a phone interview Sunday. "He sent a letter to Sabrina, saying that he wanted to see her."

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DaSilva would speak often with their daughter over the phone and on Skype, Silva said.

"I couldn't force her to stop talking to her father," she said. "But I was very afraid."

She said DaSilva would send Sabrina DaSilva money, and in May she went to visit her father in Connecticut for his birthday.

Silva, who also has a 29-year-old daughter, said Sabrina DaSilva was supposed to visit her father again in June for Father's Day but decided not to go. She then canceled a planned visit to see him on the Fourth of July weekend, she said.

"I felt something was bothering her," Silva said. "She was concerned. She was worried. She was also kind of angry."

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On the evening of July 3, after going to the beach with her 2-year-old daughter, Victoria, earlier that day, Sabrina DaSilva was found dead in the parking lot of her apartment complex on Bedford Street.


"The new charges allege that Mr. DaSilva shot Ms. DaSilva multiple times, resulting in her death," according to the district attorney's statement.

Neighbors said Sabrina DaSilva was studying to be a court interpreter.

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DaSilva waived extradition Monday during a court hearing in Bridgeport, the district attorney's office said. He is expected to be transported to Massachusetts and arraigned in New Bedford District Court; the date has yet to be announced.

Silva was relieved to hear of his arrest over the weekend.

"I'm very interested in what he's going to say. And I want justice," Silva said, the cries of Victoria audible in the background. "I don't have my daughter. It hurts me deeply."

Miguel Otárola can be reached at miguel.otarola@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @motarola123.