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Two Rhode Island men charged with assault and battery in death of Patriots fan

Dec 21, 2023, 12:30 PM

BOSTON (AP) — Two Rhode Island men have been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct by Foxborough Police in connection with the recent death of a fan at a New England Patriots game.

John Vieira, 59, and Justin Mitchell, 39, both of Warwick, R.I., were charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct earlier this month after investigators said they punched 53-year-old Dale Mooney, of Newmarket, New Hampshire.

Mooney was struck during an altercation at the Sept. 17 game, which ended in a 24-17 win by the visiting Miami Dolphins, investigators said. Mooney was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Criminal complaints filed earlier this month said both Vieira and Mitchell “did assault and beat Dale Mooney.” A lawyer for Mitchell did not immediately return a phone call. Court records didn’t indicate an attorney for Vieira.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner provided preliminary indications that did not suggest traumatic injury, but did identify a medical issue, according to the district attorney’s office. The cause and manner of death were undetermined at that time, pending further testing.

Final determinations delivered to the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office ruled the manner of death a homicide. The cause of death has been ruled as “probable cardiac dysrhythmia in a person with severe hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease during a physical altercation.”

The review of the available evidence, including the autopsy results and multiple angles of video capturing the incident, failed to establish a basis for criminal prosecution of charges related to homicide in Mooney’s death, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said in a statement Thursday.

“We thank the members of the public who made their private videos of the altercation available for our review, and the investigators at the Foxborough Police Department, for their help in establishing a clear picture of these tragic events,” Morrissey said.

Viera is scheduled for a court appearance on Jan. 19. Mitchell is due in court on Jan. 26.

Gillette Stadium officials said at the time that they were “heartbroken” by the death of Mooney, who they said was a lifelong Patriots fan and 30-year season ticket holder.

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Two Rhode Island men charged with assault and battery in death of Patriots fan