The murder of late Police Officer Dan Talbot has finally been fully resolved.
In a case that is one of the most contentious cases in a City with a lot of contentious cases, the matter was about to proceed on April 30 through an emotional re-trial of the case when Robert Iacoviello Jr., 30, decided last Friday afternoon in Boston’s Suffolk Superior Court to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter instead.
He was originally convicted of second-degree murder and received a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years for the Sept. 29, 2007 killing of Talbot.
In 2016, Iacoviello Jr. received the right to new trial when appellate courts reversed his 2010 murder conviction.
Iacoviello, Jr., pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and accepted a 14-year prison term rather than proceed to trial for second-degree murder. Second-degree murder carries a life sentence with parole eligibility after 15 years.
Prior to sentencing Iacoviello, Judge Jeffrey Locke heard from Talbot’s former fiancée, Connie, who was present for the fatal conflict and testified as a witness at trial.
“Dan was to me and so many others an amazing individual,” she said. “During his five years on the police force he accomplished so much and affected so many people’s lives. He demanded respect in uniform, but yet was compassionate and understanding. He was passionate and driven …. Dan had such an impact on those around him that after his death the Revere Police Department dedicated their community room to Dan, a fundraiser to help kids with cancer was held in his name, and three babies were named after Dan, an honor that will go on for lifetimes. I can’t think of a better testament to who Dan was.”
The Revere Police put out a statement this week on the matter, saying the case left a lasting impression on the department, and his memory lives on in Revere. That coming in the naming of the community room at the station after him.
“Daniel Talbot in his short time with the Revere Police Department left a lasting impression on his coworkers and everyone he came in contact with,” read the statement, issued by Chief James Guido. “He was an outstanding Police officer whose life was cut short by a tragic and senseless act of violence…The ruling for a new trial was devastating news to the Revere Police Department and to Danny’s family and friends. There is no one that is happy with the decision to grant the defendant a new trial and the plea bargain seems to be the best possible outcome to a bad situation. I hope that everyone involved can find closure and that Dan’s memory will live on in all of us.”
Iacoviello Jr.’s attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, told the Journal that it was a fair outcome.
“I think it’s a fair and just resolution of the matter,” he said.
Shapiro said the new sentence is effective as of Oct. 1, 2007, and so Iacoviello Jr. will have served 11 years this Oct. 1. With good behavior credit on his jail record, he is expected to be released within the next two to two-and-a-half years.
Given the opportunity to address the court last Friday, Iacoviello Jr. offered an unconditional apology to Talbot’s family, saying, “I apologize for my actions. I wish it never happened. It shouldn’t have happened. I know a lot of people are going through pain. I know a lot of people are hurting. I know there’s nothing I can do right now. But whatever I can do, I will. I take responsibility for my actions.”
Iacoviello admitted firing the fatal shot after another man – Derek Lodie – encountered Talbot, who was off-duty, out of uniform, and with a group of friends in the area of Revere High School in the early morning hours of Sept. 29, 2007. Lodie engaged in a verbal altercation with them, then called Iacoviello to the scene in the apparent belief that they were members of a rival group.
Iacoviello traveled to a friend’s house to retrieve a 9mm semiautomatic firearm, then proceeded to the scene. As Lodie re-engaged Talbot and lured him toward the parking lot, Iacoviello arrived, drew the weapon, and fired, hitting Talbot and causing fatal injuries. Talbot had drawn his service weapon when he was shot but never fired it, the trial evidence showed; another off-duty officer discharged his firearm after Iacoviello fired, but did not hit anyone.
Iacoviello and his group fled the scene. In the days that followed, they burned Iacoviello’s clothing and dismantled the handgun, which was later recovered in pieces from several storm drains in Revere.
Lodie pleaded guilty as an accessory before the fact to Talbot’s homicide and was sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison. Iacoviello Jr. was convicted on Feb. 20, 2010, after three weeks of testimony from some 50 witnesses and about three full days of deliberations. A motion for a new trial was denied in 2014. In 2016, however, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that jurors should have been instructed on self-defense and manslaughter. The Supreme Judicial Court later affirmed that decision. Prosecutors’ had argued that going out of one’s way to arm oneself and then proceeding toward a known conflict was not an act of self-defense, and that the evidence at trial did not suggest an errant shot by the defendant but rather one fired at Talbot’s head, but that argument wasn’t accepted.
In accepting Iacoviello’s plea last Friday, prosecutors weighed the Talbot family’s loss and egregious nature of the defendant’s actions against the challenges posed by locating the necessary trial witnesses, re-trying the case 11 years later with the additional defense theories imposed by the Appeals Court, and the possibility of conviction on a lesser offense or even acquittal.
Assistant District Edmond Zabin, chief of the DA’s Homicide Unit, responded to the scene that night, prosecuted the case at trial, assisted in arguing before the Appeals Court, and represented the Commonwealth at Friday’s proceedings.