BRIDGEWATER, MASS. (WHDH) - A Bridgewater man faced a judge Friday, hours after officials said he allegedly killed his neighbor in an incident early Friday morning.

Dinis Moreira, 69, was arraigned in Brockton District Court, pleading not guilty to a murder charge against him. 

In a statement, the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office said police initially responded around 12:30 a.m. Friday after receiving a call from one of Moreira’s family members.

Arriving at the scene on Spring Street in Bridgewater, the DA’s office said officers found a woman “with severe trauma to her head and face.” The DA said the woman, later identified as 58-year-old Valerie Oakhem, was taken to a nearby hospital where she died. 

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague provided additional information in court Friday afternoon, describing a bloody scene that she said police found inside Moreira’s home.

“The officers went into the kitchen where they found the victim in a pool of blood,” Sprague said. “There was blood on the floor, the walls and the ceiling. The victim was trembling and gasping for air.”

“The defendant could not explain to the police why he, himself was covered in blood,” Sprague continued.

Roughly 20 family members and friends of Oakhem were in court for Moreira’s arraignment, with some expressing anger and disbelief as proceedings got underway. 

Prosecutors said Moreira is accused of beating Oakhem, a beloved mother and former nursing home worker, to death with a hammer. 

Moreira, meanwhile, told investigators Oakhem had been at his home Thursday night. He said the pair each had a glass of wine before he went upstairs. When he came back down around 8 p.m., he said he found Oakhem. He then waited until 12:30 a.m., though, to call his son, who called 911. 

Cameras on Spring Street in Bridgewater captured a still busy scene Friday afternoon, with investigators seen working in the area and leaving with bags of evidence.

People who live nearby were in shock. 

“Real nice guy,” said neighbor Peter Schneider. “I have no bad things to say about him. He’s come over here to help me out when I needed help. We’d watch each other’s house when we’d go on vacations. He was a nice man.”

Back in court, Oakhem’s family was heartbroken and calling for justice.

“This is not going to go away,” said Oakhem’s daughter, Sam. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. Rest in peace to my mother.”

“We just want Justice and what’s done right. We don’t wanna act like animals. We just want the court to see this the right way,” said Oakhem’s son, Michael.

Moreira was ordered to spend 20 days at Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental health evaluation after a court mental health professional said he may not be fit to stand trial. 

Moreira is due back in court next month. 

While an investigation was ongoing, the DA said on Friday that officials believe this incident “was a targeted act of violence and not random.”

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