New Bedford man convicted in fatal hammer attack - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

New Bedford man convicted in fatal hammer attack

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FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) - A New Bedford man has been convicted of fatally beating another man with a hammer during a robbery, stealing the victim's car, and fleeing to Connecticut.

Thomas Gardner was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder for the November 2011 death of Michael Duarte.
 
Sentencing is Wednesday. A first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
 
The men met at a city home Duarte was interested in buying. The house was owned by Gardner's ex-wife, and he was staying there in violation of a restraining order.
 
Prosecutors say Gardner beat Duarte with a hammer and stole money, a cellphone, and his car.
 
Gardner was arrested days later in Westport, Conn., after a high-speed police chase.
 
Gardner's lawyer says the slaying was self-defense during a botched drug deal.
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