Victim In Broken Bow Lane Shooting Dies
By: Michael C. Bailey
Last week’s shooting on Broken Bow Lane became a murder case over the weekend.
John J. Williams, 40, died Saturday of multiple gunshot wounds inflicted last week allegedly by his stepson, 18-year-old Devante M. Fernandes, who is scheduled to appear in Falmouth District Court tomorrow for a dangerousness hearing.
Mr. Fernandes was arraigned Friday on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with intent to murder, and he was ordered held without bail until tomorrow’s hearing, which could be influenced by Mr. Williams’s death.
Phone calls to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office seeking an update on the investigation were not returned by press time this morning.
Falmouth attorney Robert W. Nolan, who is defending Mr. Fernandes, said yesterday he expected the case to go to trial regardless of the final slate of charges, adding that when the full story comes out, it will show that Mr. Fernandes “was defending his mom and defending himself.”
A 16-year-old male suspect arrested at his home at 23 Homestead Lane has also been charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. His court proceedings are confidential due to his age, but he, too, could now face harsher charges.
The incident last Thursday at 56 Broken Bow Lane sparked a manhunt that began in Teaticket and ended at 77 Gifford Street, with Falmouth, Mashpee, and state police and Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department deputies taking Mr. Fernandes and three other people into custody.
Misty L. Baker and David A. Byron, both 19 and of 77 Gifford Street, and 21-year-old Tyreek Wheeler, listed as homeless and formerly of Waquoit Highway, were initially charged with being accessories after the fact, but those charges were later dropped.
Police received a call about a disturbance at the home on Thursday at 9:24 AM. Police reports stated that the caller claimed Mr. Williams had “flipped out,” but police logs listed the incident as “unfounded.”
Police reports stated that Mr. Williams spoke to police and said there were no issues, and the original caller, who was not identified, also contacted the police department to say there were no problems.
The Falmouth Police Department received a report of gunshots from the home at 10:12 AM. Police arrived on the scene to find Mr. Williams on the front lawn of the home with multiple gunshot wounds to his abdomen. He was transported to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where he later died of his injuries.
Mr. Nolan said the pattern of abuse between Mr. Williams and his wife can be traced back to soon after they met in 1994. “[Mrs. Williams] took out several restraining orders during the late ’90s and the early 2000s,” Mr. Nolan said.
He is still researching the couple’s restraining order history, but Mr. Nolan said it appears that those orders were initially taken out in Barnstable District Court and later in Barnstable Probate and Family Court; Mr. Williams is a Barnstable High School graduate, and the couple lived on LeFrance Avenue in Hyannis until moving to Falmouth in 2007.
According to Mr. Nolan, the Williams married in 2000, “and Mr. Fernandes said his earliest memories are of his stepfather beating his mother.”
Mr. Nolan said the abuse continued as the family grew, and all eight of their children, of which Mr. Fernandes is the oldest, have witnessed “constant violence toward [Mrs. Williams]” over the years.
More On The Murder Of John Williams
On the morning of the shooting, Mr. Nolan said Mrs. Williams called Mr. Fernandes and asked him to come home. The police report stated that Mr. Fernandes and the juvenile allegedly entered the home, Mr. Fernandes allegedly grabbed a .20 caliber rifle from his room, then confronted Mr. Williams in the living room of the home.
Mr. Fernandes allegedly fired one shot that missed Mr. Williams, then several more that struck the victim. The suspects then fled the home, launching the manhunt, police reports stated.
“It’s important to note that Mr. Williams came after Devante” immediately prior to Mr. Fernandes allegedly opening fire, Mr. Nolan said. “He didn’t just blast [Mr. Williams].”
Mr. Fernandes has an arrest record stemming from a November 2010 stabbing on Homestead Lane, but Mr. Nolan said that Mr. Fernandes was found not guilty on all charges following a February 2012 jury trial in Barnstable Superior Court.
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