Mass. man convicted of killing 4 asking SJC to overturn conviction, claims confession was false

BOSTON — A Massachusetts man convicted of killing four people, including two on the west coast, has gone before the state’s highest court to try to get one of his convictions overturned. In that case that Daniel Tavares is appealing, he gave a confession to police.

His lawyer claims that was not a true confession, and now Tavares is at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court trying to get that conviction thrown out.

Tavares is behind bars in Washington state for life after pleading guilty to the murders of a newlywed couple there in 2007. But in Boston, Tavares’ lawyer is arguing to the SJC to throw out Tavares’ conviction in another case: the disappearance and murder of Gayle Botelho in Fall River in 1988.

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In 2000, Tavares tried to shave time off his 20-year sentence for killing his own mother by giving Mass State Police information about the Botelho case, implicating others and directing police to her body.

Tavares claims that was supposed to be a secret, until the deal was outed by bestselling author Anne Rule in her 2012 book “Mortal Danger,” a book stocked in the prison library where Tavares is incarcerated.

Tavares’ lawyer claims that Tavares had no choice but to confess to the murder himself, even though he says he didn’t do it.

“In order for him to deflect from being an informant, he admitted to the crime himself,” said Theodore Riordan, Tavares’ lawyer. “It was the only way he could spare his life and not be killed in prison as an informant.”

Tavares’ lawyer told the SJC that the jury should have been given more information about the nature of the confession and that it could have raised reasonable doubt. He is asking the court to throw out the murder conviction in the Botelho case and give Tavares a new trial.

“Once this was published in 2012 when he was in Seattle, in Washington, the word was out in the prison system that he was a rat,” Riordan said. “So because of that he had to falsely confess to this crime that he did it. Otherwise, he’d be killed as a rat.”