NATIONAL NEWS

Second Rhode Island man pleads not guilty to charges related to Patriots fan’s death

Jan 26, 2024, 7:55 AM

WRENTHAM, Mass. (AP) — A second Rhode Island man charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct in connection with the death of a fan at a New England Patriots game pleaded not guilty Friday.

In a brief court appearance, Justin Mitchell, 39 was arraigned in Wrentham District Court over allegations he and 59-year-old John Vieira, both from Warwick, Rhode Island, punched 53-year-old Dale Mooney, of Newmarket, New Hampshire. Vieira pleaded not guilty last week.

Mitchell was ordered to stay away from Gillette Stadium as well as Mooney’s family and any potential witnesses.

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

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.

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Second Rhode Island man pleads not guilty to charges related to Patriots fan’s death