West Bridgewater man convicted of murdering 72-year-old woman 'under extreme cruelty'

WEST BRIDGEWATER — A Plymouth County Superior Court jury found a West Bridgewater man guilty of murder in the 2017 bludgeoning of a 72-year-old West Bridgewater woman, District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said Tuesday.

After a 12-day trial, Danny J. Lopes Jr., 39, was found guilty of one count of first degree murder under premeditation and extreme cruelty in the death of his father's longtime girlfriend, Julia Fernandes, who was beaten to death with a fireplace log, the DA's office said.

Lopes was also convicted of one count of intimidation of a witness for sending a threatening letter from the Plymouth County Correctional Facility to a witness who testified before the grand jury.

The jury deliberated for two-and-a-half hours before coming to their decision.

What happened?

On Aug. 27, 2017, just before 6 p.m., West Bridgewater Police received information that an elderly woman had been murdered in a home at 93 Columbus Ave., the district attorney's office said in a written statement.

Upon arrival at that address, police located the victim, Julia Fernandes, 72, who was pronounced dead on scene by emergency medical personnel.

About 12 hours into the West Bridgewater Police's investigation into the homicide, police arrested Lopes, who at the time was 34 years old and was the son of her late longtime boyfriend, and charged him with the murder, The Enterprise reported.

The medical examiner determined Fernandes experienced "blunt force head trauma," due to Lopes bludgeoning her to death with a fireplace log.

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Victim remembered as a kind, friendly person

A close family friend told The Enterprise in 2017 that the victim belonged to a tight-knit Brockton-based family, and spent much of her time at her sister’s house in Brockton.

“I met her on many occasions,” said Jose DeAndrade of Brockton. “She was a very, very nice lady.”

Julia Fernandes, 72, was killed in her West Bridgewater home. The son of her late longtime boyfriend, Danny J. Lopes Jr., was convicted of her murder.
Julia Fernandes, 72, was killed in her West Bridgewater home. The son of her late longtime boyfriend, Danny J. Lopes Jr., was convicted of her murder.

Neighbors within the quiet Columbus Avenue neighborhood in West Bridgewater told The Enterprise in 2017 they were shocked to hear of Fernandes' violent death.

Though the elderly Cape Verdean woman did not speak fluent English and tended to keep to herself, neighbors said she went out of her way to be friendly in passing.

Lopes is scheduled to be sentenced on March 1 in Plymouth Superior Court.

Staff writer Namu Sampath can be reached at nsampath@enterprisenews.com, or you can follow her on Twitter @namusampath. Thank you, subscribers. You make this coverage possible. If you are not a subscriber, please consider supporting quality local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Brockton Enterprise.

This article originally appeared on The Enterprise: West Bridgewater Julia Fernandes murder: Danny J. Lopes Jr. convicted