Suspects Ordered Held Without Bail In Brutal Murder of Chantel Bruno
NEW BEDFORD — The three suspects arrested in connection to the January 22nd murder of Chantel Bruno on Ashley Boulevard were arraigned in New Bedford Third District Court on Tuesday.
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III is leading the prosecution against defendants Olivia Alves, Robert Viveiros, and Kenneth Roark.
The D.A.'s office says that Chantel Bruno was stabbed 49 separate times, suffering from 10 to 12 stab wounds to her back, defensive stab wounds to her hands, and more around her body. The Chief Medical Examiner reported that some of the stab wounds to Bruno's back were as deep as 10 inches, and says that she could have only survived for approximately five to ten minutes after the stabbing from blood loss.
Prosecutors say that after the stabbing, Bruno left a trail of blood as she managed to make it from her third story apartment down to the stairs at the front entrance of the building where she was found by police. She was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 2:30 a.m. Bruno's dog also suffered non-fatal stab wounds during the incident.
The court first saw 29-year-old Olivia Alves, the girlfriend of Viveiros who lives with him in the apartment directly next door to Bruno's. Alves was released on personal recognizance and must wear a gps monitor on her ankle. The 29-year-old defendant is being charged with obstruction of justice portion of the witness intimidation statute. She is due back in court on March 7th.
The D.A.'s office says that Alves mislead police during the investigation and attempted to rearrange the murder scene to further throw off police. Alves is alleged to have lied to police about her knowledge of the murder while it was happening and her boyfriend's role in the crime, despite sharing a wall with Bruno's apartment. A search warrant conducted by state and local police at Viveiros' and Alves' apartment found blood stained on the kitchen sink handle as well as a Dawn soap bottle, and that a knife was missing from a block in the kitchen. Authorities also noted that Bruno's back door had been kicked in, but that someone had attempted to repair the door in another attempt to mislead investigators.
Following Alves' arraignment, 45-year-old Kenneth Roark was arraigned on murder, armed home invasion, animal cruelty and conspiracy charges. Roark is ordered held without bail based on the violent nature of the charges he faces.
Prosecutors say that video surveillance of the surrounding area obtained by police captured a Toyota Tundra Limited Edition pickup truck with a distinctive sticker located directly above the license plate, the truck registered to Roark, circle the area of the crime scene at least three times roughly 15-minutes before the 911 calls were made.
Police then say at 1:06 a.m., footage shows the truck park at the intersection of Whitman Street and Brook Street, and that a man exited the vehicle and walk down the street towards the crime scene on Ashley Boulevard. The footage also shows that when the man briefly pauses to use his cell phone in the back parking lot of a church, his hands were exposed and he was not wearing gloves. The police report notes that it took the man approximately five minutes to walk from his parking spot and onto Ashely Boulevard where he went out of view of the camera.
At 1:16 a.m., just three minutes before the 911 call was made, the man appears back on camera walking away from the crime scene and back towards the pickup truck. The police report states that in this video, the man appeared to be wearing gloves, and that no fingerprints were discovered during a crime scene investigation of Bruno's apartment. At 1:18 a.m., police say the man then entered the pickup truck and turned down Ashley Boulevard, and would have driven past the crime scene at about the same time Bruno was made her way to the stairs at the entrance of the building.
Roark's record shows that he has multiple restraining orders from an ex-wife, and dozens of violent and non-violent convictions including a felony conviction for arson, battery, battery against a law enforcement officer, and the criminal use of weapons.
Later in the afternoon, 47-year-old Robert Veveiros was arraigned on murder, armed home invasion, animal cruelty, the obstruction of justice portion of the witness intimidation statute and conspiracy charges. Veveiros is also ordered held without bail because of the violence in relation to his charges.
During the investigation of the crime scene, chemists from the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services section observed a single red stain on the doorframe below the handle consistent with blood. The stain was collected and tested and confirmed to be Viveiros' blood.
Alves and Viveiros both stated to police that on the day of the homicide they were asleep in bed by 11:30 p.m. with the door closed and the TV turned on. The couple also told police that they weren't woken up by and did not hear any noise coming from Bruno's apartment other than music that was playing before they went to bed.
The prosecution also discussed multiple text exchanges between Roark and Viveiros that occurred before and after the murder. They say police found text messages between the two describing the physical harm they wished to impose on Bruno, including one message from Viveiros to Roark saying, “Hey was wondering if u can come by my house and bring reinforcements with u im having issues with my next door neighbor. And I had enough with the bull (expletive).”
Further text messages sent about an hour later indicate that it was Viveiros who initiated the plan to murder Bruno. Viveiros seems to have wanted to explain to Roark his motivation for the attack, referring to past incidents with Bruno and boyfriend.
“Its mainly a bitch whos starting all the (expletive) and her man thinks we are lying about shes throeing (expletive) out the kitchen window hitting my car and truck wi,” one message from Viveiros to Roark said. “th cans of vegables and got caught doing it,” the following message read.
Another discovered text from Viveiros to Roark on the night of the murder said “I will kick in that (expletive) door and beat her ass and have my pitbulls with me. Malika wants a bite of her too.”
The D.A.'s office says that Alves and Viveiros admitted to police during questioning that they had past problems with Bruno as a neighbor, saying she was constantly bothering them with loud noise and behavior.
Robert Viveiros has prior convictions for larceny from a building, breaking and entering and rape of a child.
Both Veveiros and Roark are due back in court on February 27th for their pre-trial hearing.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Texts in this story were transcribed exactly as they appeared in court transcripts.)