NEW BEDFORD -- A New Bedford man convicted of first degree murder in the brutal stabbing death of Chantel Bruno in 2018 will spend life in prison.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office said 50-year-old Kenneth Roark was convicted by a jury on Nov. 23 of murder as well as home invasion and animal cruelty following a two-week trial.

Bruno was killed and her dog also stabbed at an Ashley Boulevard apartment in the early morning hours of Jan. 22, 2018, when she was 34 years old, over a dispute with neighbors.

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According to the D.A.'s office, police were called to 387 Ashley Blvd. for a report of a woman calling for help.

They arrived to find Bruno collapsed and bleeding heavily in the apartment building entrance, suffering from several obvious stab wounds.

She was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead of blood loss with a total of 49 stab wounds on her body, according to the medical examiner.

Before she lost consciousness Bruno told police officers that her pet dog had also been stabbed.

The dog, a small Shih Tzu named Lolita, had been stabbed but survived the attack.

According to the D.A.'s office, Bruno was staying in the building in her boyfriend's apartment, but became unpopular with the neighbors.

One neighbor, Robert Viveiros, accused Bruno of blaring music at all hours, of causing problems due to her dog, and of throwing soup cans at his vehicle from her window.

A state police investigation revealed that Viveiros recruited Roark to hurt Bruno.

Viveiros was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for first degree murder, home invasion, and animal cruelty following a trial in November 2021.

Viveiros' case was initially declared a mistrial in March 2020 after the trial was stopped due to COVID-19.

This was also Roark's second trial, after his first trial resulted in a mistrial due to a hung jury.

"I am very pleased the jury held the defendant accountable for the brutal murder of the victim," said Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn.

"I appreciate the family’s perseverance and patience in enduring multiple trials in this case."

"I want to commend the prosecution team for their efforts in prosecuting two trials for each defendant," he added. "Countless hours went into the successful prosecution of these cases. I am grateful for their work on behalf of the people of Bristol County."

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