Gunman Pleads Guilty to 2011 Homicide as Trial is Set to Begin

BOSTON, September 28, 2017— As jury selection was underway in his murder trial, the Dorchester man charged with killing 28-year-old Terrance Johnson in 2011 pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

JOAO F. VICENTE (D.O.B. 8/15/89) today pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and unlawful possession of a firearm.  Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine Roach sentenced Vicente to a term of 14 to 17 years in state prison.

A Suffolk County grand jury returned indictments in 2015 charging Vicente for first-degree murder in connection with Johnson’s death four years earlier.  Vicente’s plea came after 11 jurors had been seated and his trial set to begin.

Had the case proceeded to trial, Assistant District Attorney Lynn Feigenbaum would have sought to prove that Vicente shot Johnson in the head with a .38 Special two-shot Derringer in the area of Humphreys Street and Humphreys Place on the night of May 31, 2011, after the two were involved in a verbal altercation.  Vicente then fled the area on foot, discarding a jacket on the ground and dropping the gun used to kill Johnson in a recycling bin.

Johnson was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.

Vicente fled to Springfield and remained there several months without returning to his home on Humphreys Place, the evidence would have shown.

Fingerprints lifted from the lid of the recycling bin were matched to Vicente; DNA on the discarded jacket was linked to another person.  During the course of their investigation, police and prosecutors gathered evidence indicating that Vicente killed Johnson over an unpaid debt.

“No matter how much time has passed, we will never stop seeking justice on behalf of victims and their families,” Conley said.  “While nothing can fill the void left by Terrance Johnson’s death, I hope his loved ones find some comfort in knowing that the man who killed him has admitted his guilt and been held accountable.”

Erin O’Connor is the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate.  Vicente was represented by Hank Brennan.




All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.