Rodney Daniels has been convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the death of 17-year-old Patricia Moreno, who was shot in the head in her Malden apartment in 1991. The conviction comes 32 years after the crime, following a re-examination of the case by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Cold Case Unit. Daniels, who lived in the same apartment as Moreno, had shown threatening behavior towards her prior to her death. He was arrested in Georgia in 2021 and is now awaiting sentencing. David Cifarelli | firstname.lastname@example.org reported
A man has recently been convicted in connection with the death of a 17-year-old girl in Malden, Massachusetts, 32 years ago. Rodney Daniels was found guilty of first-degree murder after a six-day trial, according to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. The victim, Patricia “Tricia” Moreno, was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head on the fire escape of her third-floor apartment on July 20, 1991. Despite being seriously injured, she was still breathing when found but later succumbed to an irreversible brain injury at Massachusetts General Hospital.
At the time of her death, Moreno resided in the apartment with her foster mother, two teenage daughters, and Daniels, who was dating the older daughter. The family reported hearing two gunshots on the night of the incident but had no knowledge of the shooter’s identity. Authorities found no signs of forced entry into the home. Although no firearm was discovered during a thorough search of the apartment, a bullet retrieved from Moreno’s body matched a .38 caliber weapon.
Investigations revealed that Daniels owned multiple handguns, including one consistent with a .38 caliber revolver, around the time of Moreno’s shooting. Officials also noted Daniels’ threatening behavior towards Moreno in the weeks leading up to her death. On the night of the incident, Daniels claimed to have been awakened by the sound of gunshots while sleeping in the living room. He stated finding Moreno on the fire escape. Despite numerous interviews over the years, the police lacked sufficient evidence to make an arrest.
In 2020, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Cold Case Unit reopened the investigation. Investigators revisited the apartment and reconstructed Moreno’s position on the fire escape, concluding that the shooter must have been standing in the doorway of the apartment. They also re-interviewed a witness who resided in the second-floor apartment at the time of the incident. This witness reported being awakened by a loud noise, observing Moreno struggling to breathe on the fire escape, and witnessing a man identified as Daniels standing over her before returning to the apartment.
Furthermore, investigators discovered an alibi witness who had informed her friends and family that Daniels had killed Moreno, concealed the weapon inside an armchair, and disposed of it. However, this witness has since passed away. Based on this new information, investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Daniels, who was apprehended at his Georgia residence on September 27, 2021. Following his extradition to Massachusetts, Daniels was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury and arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on September 29, 2021. He is currently being held without bail, and the date for his sentencing remains uncertain..