NEW BEDFORD — An illegal immigrant twice kicked out of the country — and sporting a “Kiss My Ass” tattoo on his neck — vowed to see his teenage daughter “in hell” as he shot her in the face and pumped her back full of bullets for snubbing him on Father’s Day, authorities said.
“It is disturbing that he’d been deported and came back into the country illegally, but he’s here,” Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said yesterday after Walter Gomes DaSilva, a 45-year-old Brazilian, grinned widely as he pleaded not guilty to murder and firearm charges. “This is a very chilling set of circumstances — a father being accused of killing his teenage daughter. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
DaSilva had been deported in 1999, illegally re-entered the U.S. at an unknown date, and in 2002 was convicted of trying to kill his wife, according to Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). DaSilva was released from prison in 2012 after serving a 10-year stint, then was deported again, Neudauer said.
New Bedford District Court Judge James J. McGovern ordered Walter DaSilva held pending an Oct. 5 probable cause hearing. When prosecutors informed the judge that ICE now had a detainer on him, McGovern muttered aloud from the bench, “I would hope so.”
Police found the body of Sabrina DaSilva, 19, splayed in the parking lot of her apartment building the night of July 3 surrounded by 9 mm shell casings and the groceries she was taking out of her car when her father confronted her in a rage, according to prosecutors. She had a 2-year-old daughter and according to her family was fluent in multiple languages and studying to be an interpreter.
Sabrina DaSilva chose to attend a family friend’s 51st birthday party rather than see her dad on Father’s Day, but was planning to make it up to him later and never said an unkind word about him, according to the friend, Glecia Ribeiro.
“He’s a monster,” she said of Walter DaSilva. “He came into the courtroom laughing. She was a wonderful girl, full of life and grace and happy. He has no defense.”
A surveillance camera captured the carnage and the quarrel that led up to it, said assistant Bristol District Attorney Robert DiGiantomaso. The footage showed Walter DaSilva as he pulled out a semiautomatic and “proceeded to shoot Sabrina DaSilva, striking her in the face, and when she turned to run, striking her several times in the back,” he said.
When he was captured by U.S. Marshals last month in Bridgeport, Conn., DiGiantomaso said, “This defendant confessed to killing his daughter, saying, ‘I did it. I shot her.’ He then went on to say that he was planning on killing not only Sabrina DaSilva, but the male that she was dating at the time, as well as Liliana Silva, the (teen’s) mother. But when he got to the parking lot, he decided he would just kill her, and in his words, ‘see her in hell.’ ”
Walter DaSilva also directed officials to an attic where they recovered the alleged murder weapon in a backpack covered by insulation, he said.
Neudauer said the reason for DaSilva’s 1999 deportation was unknown. ICE was unaware he had illegally re-entered the country a second time after his second deportation on March 27, 2012.
“ICE was not aware of Mr. DaSilva’s re-entry into the U.S. prior to his arrest on Aug. 5, 2016,” he said.
According to DiGiantomaso, “Approximately four months after being deported, he obtained paperwork and came back into the United States of America through Mexico. He took on a new life and a new name of Mateus Salas while down in Danbury, Conn.”
Asked about the case’s implications for the immigration debate that has fiercely divided public opinion, Walter DaSilva’s public defender John J. Connor said, “I’m not going to politicize it. I hope other people don’t politicize it. It’s a tragedy.”
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