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Belle Glade man, 21, sentenced to 35 years after plea deal in death of acquaintance in 2020

Robert Nero Jr. also pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling, grand theft of a motor vehicle
Robert Nero Jr..jpg Sept. 30, 2023
Posted at 12:50 PM, Sep 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-30 13:31:58-04

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — A 21-year-old Belle Glade man pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder and was sentenced to a mandatory minimum 35 years in prison in the shooting death of a high school acquaintance in 2020 in Belle Glade.

On Friday, Robert Nero Jr. also pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling with a 15-year sentence and grand theft of a motor vehicle of five years to be served concurrently. Originally Nero was charged with first-degree murder.

Carolina Cahill Shepherd was the presiding judge in the West Palm Beach Courthouse.

At 1:40 a.m. Sept. 15, 2020, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a shooting in the 200 block of Northwest 11th Street. Johnathan Moore, 18, was found unresponsive in the back seat of a 2016 Mazda 3 hatchback. He had a single gunshot wound to the back of his head.

Nero had an apartment that is approximately 50 feet from where Moore's body was found.

Robert Nero's mother told an investigator that he "had been acting strangely the last couple weeks."

Her half son said Nero had told him that a male in a white car tried to have sexual relations with him.

Investigators say he initially drove Moore's white car to Ocala before turning around and returning to Palm Beach County. Surveillance video showed that Nero appeared to have car trouble, according to a PBSO arrest report.

Cellphone data corresponded with locations where Moore's car went. Also, DNA nd fingerprints recovered from Moore's vehicle matched Nero.

One day after the shooting, Nero was arrested in Baldwin County, Alabama, after he was found with a truck reported stolen by his aunt along with a cellphone.