New Bedford Man Convicted of Murder

Bristol County District Attorney’s Office

Thomas M. Quinn III

District Attorney

Press ReleaseJuly 12, 2022

A 29-year-old New Bedford man was convicted last Friday of Second Degree Murder in connection to the August 2, 2015 shooting death of Jeffrey Silvia, Jr., Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Michael Sousa was convicted by a jury of his peers in Fall River Superior Court after a 13-day trial.  He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison by Judge Thomas McGuire.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Dennis Collins and Jason Mohan.

On August 2, 2015 at approximately 1:37 A.M., officers from the New Bedford Police Department responded to the area of 80 Rivet Street for the report of a gunshot.  As the officers responded, they were updated by a civilian caller who indicated that there was a male on the ground who was bleeding.  Once officers arrived, they located Jeffrey Silvia, Jr., 24, suffering from a single gunshot wound to his face.  Officers attempted life-saving medical assistance, however, Mr. Silvia was pronounced deceased at the scene.  In the immediate proximity to Mr. Silvia’s body, officers located one .40 caliber discharged shell casing, head-stamped “Winchester 40 S&W”.  This was believed to be the single spent shell casing from the bullet that killed Mr. Silvia.  The police also recovered one live .40 caliber bullet head-stamped “Winchester 40 S&W” next to Mr. Silvia’s body.

Officers cordoned off the area and began to canvass for witnesses and evidence.  As a part of their investigation, the police wanted to question Michael Sousa because he was known to the New Bedford Police Department and his residence of 49 Acushnet Avenue was in close proximity to the scene of the murder.  Investigating officers learned that Mr. Sousa was seen in a vehicle with Mr. Silvia only two to three minutes prior to the murder.  Mr. Sousa was later questioned by the police and based on demonstrably false statements about his whereabouts and connection to Mr. Silvia, he was arrested for misleading a police investigation.  Officers knew that Mr. Sousa was usually in the presence of his best friend Darian Cardoza who was also well known to the police. 


Later in the morning, the witnesses and Mr. Sousa saw Darian Cardoza walking down the street while they were driving to a convenience store.  They stopped and Mr. Cardoza entered the car.  According to both civilian witnesses, Mr. Sousa and Mr. Cardoza admitted to their roles in the incident.  Both men spoke about the victim being a heroin dealer that they were attempting to rob.  Mr. Cardoza was supposed to grab the victim and Mr. Sousa was supposed to rob him at gunpoint.  When the victim resisted the robbery, Mr. Sousa stated that he had to shoot the kid.  When the witness asked if Mr. Sousa killed the victim, Mr. Sousa responded “I shot him in the face with a hollow tip, what do you think”.  The witnesses also testified that they observed Mr. Sousa and Mr. Cardoza split approximately $3,000 in cash which they stated they stole from Mr. Silvia after Mr. Sousa shot him in the face. Mr. Cardoza received less money than Mr. Sousa because Mr. Sousa complained that he had to do all of the work.

As officers continued their investigation, they had reason to search the backyard of 26 Thompson Street in New Bedford.  That address was an abandoned house located next door to a known associate of Mr. Sousa.  In a recycling bin in the backyard, police officers located a .40 caliber S&W Glock model 23 semi-automatic firearm.  That firearm was loaded with one live bullet in the magazine which was capable of holding fifteen rounds of ammunition.  The live bullet in the .40 caliber Glock 23 was also a .40 caliber S&W round.  Later in the investigation, investigating officers located witnesses who testified that they saw Mr. Sousa a short time after the murder where he confessed that he had just shot someone in the face.  At the time, Mr. Sousa produced a firearm from his waistband and began to clean it.  One of the witnesses saw Mr. Sousa disappear with the firearm into the backyard of 26 Thompson Street where the .40 caliber Glock 23 was later recovered. 

Mr. Cardosa pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and received a 10-15 year sentence on January 25, 2019.

“This is another example of a senseless killing over drugs. Because of the pandemic and other legal issues, this case took a long time to bring to trial.  I want to thank the family for their patience and perseverance during a very difficult time for them. I hope they have some consolation that the defendant is being held accountable for their loved ones death,” District Attorney Quinn said.


Gregg Miliote

Director of Communications