Michael Soares was arrested on February 5, 2019 and charged with first degree murder in the May 16, 2013 killing of 66-year-old John Fay in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Fay had been jogging on a walking trail in Warwick City Park when he was ambushed and beaten. His body was found the next day stuffed into a trash barrel. He had been stabbed and bludgeoned to death with a hammer resembling those used in fantasy gaming.
A DNA profile of the suspect was developed from samples found on the trash barrel where Fay’s body was found, the hammer used in the murder, and a sample obtained from under Fay’s fingernails.
The FGG investigation was conducted by Colleen Fitzpatrick of Identifinders. Ancestry analysis showed that the suspect had some Mediterranean or Middle Eastern ancestry, and his Y-STR analysis showed that he was likely descended from a line of Portuguese men. Fitzpatrick solved the case by finding a second cousin once-removed who had uploaded their DNA to FTDNA. Police then obtained a search warrant for Soares’ DNA, and they took a cheek swab that was consistent with the DNA profile obtained from the crime scene.
On January 6, 2023, Soares pled not guilty due to reason of insanity at his trial in Rhode Island Superior Court.. A psychiatrist testifying for the defense testified that Soares had schizophrenia and therefore not criminally responsible for the murder. A psychiatrist testifying for the prosecution agreed with this evaluation.
According to Dr. Christopher Matkovik, Soares understood the ramifications of his actions, but did not see Fay as human at the time of killing. He agrees that Soares fits the legal standard for not guilty due to reason of insanity, but also shared his concerns on the possibility of Soares murdering again. During his time at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston, Matkovic states that Soares had dreams of murdering his parents. Matkovik advised that Soares be supervised in a secure forensic psychiatric facility, possibly for the rest of his life.
Soares was found guilty of first-degree murder after a bench trial on January 27, 2023. The defence states that it intends to appeal the verdict.
Amaral, Brian. “How Genealogical Sleuthing Led to Suspect in Warwick Jogger’s Death.” Providence Journal, February 7, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190207/how-genealogical-sleuthing-led-to-suspect-in-warwicks-joggers-death.
Boston 25 News Staff. “Distant Cousin’s Use of DNA Test Kit Leads Police to Murder Suspect.” Boston 25 News, February 7, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.boston25news.com/news/distant-cousin-s-use-of-dna-test-kit-leads-police-to-murder-suspect/916060031/.
Bouras, Joanna. “Michael Soares Found Guilty of Murder in Killing of Jack Fay in Warwick City Park.” WJAR News 10, January 27, 2023. Accessed January 30, 2023. https://turnto10.com/news/local/decision-expected-in-murder-trial-of-michael-soares-murder-of-jack-fay-warwick-city-park-2013-jan-27-2023.
Reynolds, Mark. “Pawtucket Man Charged with Murder in 2013 Slaying of Warwick Jogger.” Providence Journal, February 5, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190205/pawtucket-man-charged-with-murder-in-2013-slaying-of-warwick-jogger.
Reynolds, Mark. “Prosecution, Defense Agree: Soares Not Criminally Responsible for Park Killing.” The Providence Journal, January 7, 2023. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://www.providencejournal.com/story/news/courts/2023/01/07/judge-to-decide-park-killing-case-and-culpability-of-michael-soares/69785612007/.