Mass. man convicted of racially-motivated killingsAP , Associated Press
May. 30, 2013 7:45 PM ET
BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) — A man who once appeared in court with a swastika scratched on his forehead was convicted Thursday of two killings authorities say were racially-motivated, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Keith Luke, 26, of Brockton displayed no emotion as he listened to the Plymouth Superior Court jury return its guilty verdicts on the panel's second day of deliberations. The first-degree murder convictions carried automatic life sentences without parole, which the judge imposed.
In addition to the two murder counts, Luke was found guilty of numerous other crimes, including armed assault with intent to murder, armed home invasion, armed kidnapping with sexual assault, aggravated rape, indecent assault and battery, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was acquitted of one count of assault with intent to murder.
Luke was charged in the fatal shootings of Selma Goncalves, 20, and Arlindo Goncalves, 79. The two, both of Cape Verdean descent, were not related. A third person who survived being shot and sexually assaulted said in a statement after the verdict that Luke is an "evil monster" who destroyed innocent lives.
Luke's attorney, Joseph Krowski Jr., argued that his client was mentally ill and not criminally responsible for his actions. But prosecutor Frank Middleton said in closing arguments that the defendant did not have a mental defect and was motivated by a desire to kill and rape. Police said Luke told investigators he wanted to kill "non-whites."
The Anti-Defamation League praised prosecutors and jurors, along with Brockton police who arrested Luke.
"Luke was on a hate motivated mission to kill Jews and non-whites and this verdict means that our community is safer tonight," Robert Trestan, the league's New England regional director, said in a statement.