A 40-year-old New Bedford gang member who killed two men execution-style back in 2017 has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Carmelo Kercado, Jr. was convicted by a jury Tuesday, June 20 on two counts of first degree murder and illegal firearm charges, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn announced.

Kercado was immediately sentenced to serve consecutive life sentences in prison with no possibility of parole.

Massachusetts State Police
Massachusetts State Police
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Kercado was the backseat passenger in a vehicle back on October 10, 2017. The vehicle, a Honda Accord, was driven by Stephen Bodden, 27, with last known addresses in Taunton and New Bedford. Riding in the front passenger seat was Fabio Tavares, 28, of New Bedford.

Fabio Tavares, Stephen Bodden/Facebook
Fabio Tavares, Stephen Bodden/Facebook
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According to the D.A., Bodden and Tavares met up with Kercado at the Whiskey Lounge between 11 p.m. and midnight on October 9, 2017, and they all left together shortly after 1 a.m. on October 10.

They got into the vehicle and traveled north on Acushnet Avenue and then west on Central Avenue, when the victims were shot and the Accord crashed into a parked vehicle.

Bodden was shot six times, including three shots to his head. Tavares was shot five times, with shots in his back, in his thigh and in his hand.

The day after the double murder, New Bedford Police raided an address on Belleville Road searching for a "violent suspect" and ignited a fire in an apartment after deploying a flashbang that set a living room couch ablaze. Authorities never confirmed if it was Kercado for whom they were searching.

However, Kercado had fled the state. The Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and the U.S. Marshals Service in Boston developed intelligence that Kercado was in Concord, North Carolina, and it was there that he was taken into custody on the afternoon of December 19, 2017.

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Kercado is also known as “Melo,” David Brown and Carmelo Mello, according to authorities at the time of the murders.

Courtesy Bristol County DA's Office
Courtesy Bristol County DA's Office
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When Kercado was arraigned on December 26, 2017, prosecutors presented a possible motive that he could have committed the murders to silence Bodden regarding a previous murder.

Prosecutors said at that time that Bodden had posted a video on social media prior to the three men meeting at the bar that claimed he would seek “retribution” toward whoever murdered his friend and mentor, Marcus Roberts, in August 2017.

Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media
Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media
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At the time, prosecutors said if Kercado was involved in the murder of Roberts as well, it could possibly show that Kercado committed the October double murder to keep Bodden quiet.

"Although the motive for the killings remains unclear, it may be connected to previous criminal activity," District Attorney Quinn said following Kercado's conviction and sentencing.

Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media
Tim Dunn/Townsquare Media
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Authorities said at the time of the murders that Kercado had an extensive and violent criminal history which included convictions for possession of a loaded firearm, possession of ammunition, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (knife), resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.

“I want to thank the jury for holding the defendant accountable for the execution of two young men who didn’t deserve to die that way. This was premeditated street violence at its worst. The defendant was well known to the authorities over the years and was previously acquitted of murder in 2015,” Quinn said.

“I would also like to thank the two civilian witnesses for their courage in testifying, which was critical to a conviction,” Quinn said. “This case highlights the importance of surveillance video which is helpful in proving these types of cases."

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