For Immediate Release - March 21, 2007

Lawrence Man Pleads Guilty To Second Degree Murder

Frank Mota, 21, of Lawrence, pleaded guilty today in Lawrence Superior Court to the shooting death of 22-year old Ricardo Rosa of Lowell. The plea occurred shortly before a jury was to be impaneled. Judge Howard J. Whitehead sentenced Mota to the mandatory term of life in state prison.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Gerald P. Shea told the court that if the case had gone to trial, the Commonwealth would have proven that on January 5, 2004, Mota shot Rosa once in the chest with a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun during an altercation outside Mota's ex-girlfriend's apartment.

Prosecutor Shea said that Mota had a three-year on-again, off-again relationship with Mory Keo, of 161 Foster Street, Lawrence. On the morning of the murder, Keo told Mota that their relationship was over.

Later that day Rosa and his girlfriend, Wesley Garcia, arrived at Keo's house. Mota, who lived only about 100 yards away from Keo, called two or three times asking what that man was doing in her house. Keo said that the man was Garcia's boyfriend, but Mota didn't believe her.

A few minutes later, armed with the handgun, Mota knocked on Keo's bedroom window. Not realizing that Mota was carrying a weapon, Rosa went out to confront the defendant. Both women saw an altercation ensue and heard the gunshot. Rosa was pronounced dead at Lawrence General Hospital a short time later.

The defendant fled to the Bronx, but was persuaded through negotiations with Lawrence and State Police to turn himself in. He has been in custody since two days after the murder.

Mota will receive credit for time served, and will be eligible for parole after 15 years. He was represented by Attorney George Murphy of Cambridge.