NEW BEDFORD — The man apprehended by a collaboration of federal, state, and local authorities in North Carolina for the double homicide committed in New Bedford back in October was arraigned in Third District Court on Tuesday.

Carmelo Kercado, Jr. has been ordered held without bail for the October 10th murders of 27-year-old Stephen Bodden and 28-year-old Fabio Tavares.

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III described the killings of Bodden and Tavares as being done in an "execution style," and said the victims each sustained five gunshot wounds to the head from a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

“It's very important that a very violent individual was taken off the streets for a double premeditated homicide, done execution-style,” Quinn said. “I want to thank the U.S. Marshals service, the State Police Violent Fugitive Task Force, and all the other investigative agencies whom helped in apprehending the defendant down in North Carolina.”

During the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Robert DiGiantomaso laid out facts from the investigation by police which alluded to the possibility that Kercado was involved in another murder in the city, committed on August 17th.

DiGiantomaso says that Kercado met Bodden and Tavares at a New Bedford bar for drinks on the night of their deaths. He also says that witnesses saw the three men leave the bar and approach the Honda Accord which was later found at the scene, and obtained surveillance footage showing Kercado fleeing the vehicle after it had crashed on Central Avenue.

For a possible motive, prosecutors say that before the three men met at the bar, Stephen Bodden had posted a video on social media claiming to seek “retribution” towards whoever murdered his friend and “mentor” Marcus Roberts back in August. They say if Kercado was involved in the murder of Roberts as well, it could possibly show that Kercado committed the double-murder to keep Bodden quiet.

District Attorney Quinn wouldn't comment on the motive or facts presented in the case, but did take the time to thank all law enforcement involved in the investigation and apprehension of Kercado. He also thanked the families of the victims, who also attended the arraignment, for their patience during a difficult time.

“I think I was particularly happy for this to occur right before Christmas. I want to thank the families for their patience and perseverance in what must've been a difficult time,” said Quinn. “There's a lot of work that goes into this, especially in a case of this nature when the person hasn't been apprehended and poses a threat to peoples' safety. So, it's a great example of a number of law enforcement agencies working together to investigate and apprehend this dangerous individual.”

Carmelo Kercado Jr. is due back in court on February 23rd. Court documents were ordered impounded until that date.

Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media
Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media

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