It was an emotional end to the trial of the East Boston man accused of killing a soon-to-be Chelsea father last August as family members got to speak at Jonathan Carvalho’s sentencing hearing.
Carvalho, 22, of East Boston was recently convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison late last week for the shooting death of Luis Paul Rodriguez, 29, of Chelsea.
Carvalho who summoned Rodriguez out of his Central Avenue home for a fistfight, only to shoot him dead will be eligible for parole after 15 years under the mandatory sentence imposed by Judge Regina Quinlan.
Prior to sentencing, Rodriguez’ brother – also named Luis – addressed the court and the defendant, whom he knew growing up.
“I had love for you, man,” the surviving brother said to Carvalho, recalling their basketball games when they were young.
“My brother was there to teach me,” he said, saying that the slain man became “brother, mother and father” after their mother died.
“I hope that you realize that you took a good man off this planet,” he said.
The victim’s aunt, an anti-violence advocate with the Chelsea Collaborative, also addressed the court.
“I’m sorry for this situation,” she said. “It is very sad, not just for me and my family, but for the whole community. I believe in the justice of God and I believe in the justice of the United States.”
Before leaving the witness stand, she had one last thought for the defendant.
“This door may be closed,” she said, “but the door in heaven may still open for you.”
Chelsea Police responded to the scene shortly after 12:30 p.m. on the afternoon of August 10 to find Rodriguez mortally wounded. Rodriguez had been shot repeatedly, with one round striking him in the back and penetrating his lung. He died later at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Chelsea Police notified the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit, which has jurisdiction over death investigations in Chelsea. Detectives from both agencies undertook multiple interviews and, after gathering physical evidence, learned that Rodriguez had come downstairs in response to a challenge over a prior dispute.
Instead of the “fair fight” he expected, however, Rodriguez soon learned that Carvalho had brought a gun. Rodriguez turned to flee and Carvalho shot him in the back. As Rodriguez stumbled back into the house, Carvalho shot him again and fled the scene.
Chelsea and State Police obtained a warrant for Carvalho’s arrest that night. With the assistance of U.S. Marshals, they tracked him to and arrested him in Savannah, Georgia, on August 12.
“This was a deeply emotional day for Mr. Rodriguez’ family,” said D.A. Daniel Conley said. “We believe the evidence supported this verdict and hope they take some comfort in the finality it brings to Luis’ death.”