Following a two-week jury trial, a 50-year-old Florida man was convicted Tuesday in Fall River Superior Court of the 2016 murder of 35-year-old Daniel Gerald Smith Jr. in Easton.

Michael Arthur Noguera, formerly of Lehigh Acres, Fla., was found guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery, larceny of a motor vehicle and carrying an illegal firearm, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

The jury, after deliberating nearly all day, returned its verdict just before 5 p.m. The defendant remains behind bars pending his sentencing on February 25.

According to the DA's office, Easton police responded to a 911 call from two juveniles on November 8, 2016. The youths had been riding their bikes near Pond Street in Easton when they encountered the victim lying in a wooded area.

When first responders arrived, they found Smith to be unconscious and bleeding from a gunshot wound to the back of his head. The victim was rushed to an area hospital, where he died three days later.

A police investigation revealed that the defendant and the victim knew each other, and had been traveling companions. They had driven together from Florida to Massachusetts before having a dispute about money. Smith was a former Easton resident.

Police say Noguera shot Smith then stole his red 2016 Mazda 3 sedan to flee the state. The vehicle was recovered three days after the shooting in a motel parking lot in North Carolina. Noguera was apprehended in South Carolina on November 12.

“I want to thank the jury for their time and effort in this case. The evidence strongly supported the verdict. This was a chilling murder by the defendant, committed against someone who was supposed to be his friend,” District Attorney Quinn said. “I want to thank the prosecutors and investigators for their effort in this case. There was a lot of evidence, including voluminous text messages and cell phone records that had to be presented to the jury.”

The case was prosecuted by Co-First Assistant District Attorney Karen O’Sullivan and Assistant District Attorney Jeanne Veenstra.

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