When I covered the Joey Bova murder trial, my intent was to tell his victim’s tragic story in a non-fiction book: The Murder of Zuheily Roman Rosado. Prior to the trial, I read all the court and investigation reports. I viewed all the still photographs and security camera footage. I interviewed Bova as well as members of the Rosado family, the press, attorneys and investigators. And yes, I studied the autopsy reports. These more than anything revealed the full impact of Bova’s cruel and senseless crime.
Six years had been spent deciding his mental competency. During this time, Zuheily Roman Rosado’s family lived in a world of grief and loss. During those six years, the scales of justice were tilted by concerns over the killer’s state of mind.
When he was finally judged competent, the trial proceeded. Over the next few days, his guilt was not only established but also admitted to. As expected, Bova’s childish antics during the trial were a distraction, at times even threatening them with yet another postponement. Quite simply, he is one sick young man. And not too bright. Every time he interrupted with his demands for an NGI, logic and common sense prevailed.
He was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to forty-five years in prison, no parole. The Rosado family took some comfort in the verdict, but faced a lifelong loss of Zuheily; a fine and hard working mother of six children.
As the day ended and the Rosado’s drove away from the courthouse, I was struck by the fact that no matter how much the non-fiction work would focus on Ms. Rosado, some light would be cast on Bova. Quite honestly, he is both unimportant and undeserving.
Watching their car cross the parking lot, the decision was clear. I chose to do a fiction book about justice, involving this and similar senseless murders, where the scales are so often weighed to the criminal’s side.
The new work is of course dedicated to Zuheily Roan Rosado and her family and friends.