Easton Murder Suspect on Trial in Fall River
A Florida man accused of murdering his traveling companion in the woods of Easton is now on trial before a jury of his peers at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River.
Michael Arthur Noguera, 50, of Lehigh Acres, Florida, is charged with murder in the shooting death of Daniel Gerald Smith. Teenagers on bicycles found Smith in the woods at the Langwater Pond Conservation Area on Nov. 8, 2016, and Smith had been shot in the head. He died several days later at a Boston hospital.
Opening arguments were heard on Tuesday.
According to court documents viewed by the Brockton Enterprise, the two men knew each other and had been traveling together from Florida to Massachusetts. They met each other at work and had been on the road together for about five weeks when the incident occurred in Easton, where Smith was originally from.
Bristol County ADA Jeanne Veenstra said at Noguera's arraignment that the two had been living a life of crime, spending stolen money and selling illegal guns. She said that the pair had also taken money from Noguera's then-girlfriend in Florida, according to the Enterprise.
The victim and defendant reportedly checked in to a Brockton hotel the day before Smith was shot. They were actually pulled over by Brockton police that night with Smith behind the wheel of his red 2016 Mazda sedan and Noguera in the passenger seat. The next day, the two checked out of the hotel around noon, and police say the 911 call came in about an hour later.
Following the shooting, Noguera allegedly fled in Smith's Mazda, called his ex-girlfriend and allegedly talked about a shooting, disassembled and ditched Smith's phone in a Rhode Island pond, and was arrested four days after the shooting in South Carolina. The phone was later retrieved by a dive team and the car was found in North Carolina.
Defense attorney Frank Camera has argued that his client is innocent, that the evidence is circumstantial, and that witnesses in the case are involved with drugs and doing prison time, so would have an incentive to "say what's going to benefit them," according to the Enterprise.
Police found a single 9mm shell casing at the scene, but a weapon was not recovered.