Plymouth County: DA Tim Cruz talks with WATD’s Christine James

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September 14, 2018

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Arsonist linked to Brockton, Hanson blazes imprisoned for violating probation

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By Cody Shepard
The Enterprise

posted Sep 6, 2018 at 11:03 AM
updated Sep 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm

Mark Sargent was sentenced to prison time on Wednesday for a probation violation after he was accused of setting several more fires.

BROCKTON — A convicted serial arsonist who was on probation when he was charged with setting five more fires will now spend at least the next decade in prison.

Mark Sargent, 50, was sentenced in Fall River Superior Court on Wednesday to 10 to 15 years in state prison during a probation surrender hearing, the Bristol County district attorney’s office confirmed to The Enterprise. Judge Thomas McGuire issued the sentence.

The hearing came about when Sargent, who was on probation for setting fires in West Bridgewater, Scituate and Marshfield in 2012 and 2013, was arrested on new charges early last October.

Sargent is currently awaiting trial after he was indicted last December by a Plymouth County grand jury of three counts of burning of a dwelling, four counts of wanton and malicious destruction of property and one count of burning of personal property. He is also awaiting a trial in Fall River Superior Court, charged with setting a fire in Westport.

The Fall River man was indicted related to fires last year at 22 Channel St. in Hull on Sept. 20; 16 Liberty St. in Hanson on Sept. 24; and at 175 East Ashland St. and 1210 Montello St. in Brockton on Oct. 4.

When Sargent was arraigned on the new charges in Brockton District Court, he was held on $250,000 bail. At the time of his Brockton Superior Court arraignment, he was held on $100,000 bail in February.

Sargent was on probation for the fires he set, along with his stepson, in 2012 and 2013 when he was charged in last year’s fires.

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Memorial stone to be dedicated to fallen Duxbury police officer

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By Amy McKeever

September 6, 2018

DUXBURY — A fallen Duxbury police officer will be honored with a memorial stone and dedication ceremony outside the police department Saturday afternoon.

Officer Melvin Dyer, who was killed in the line of duty, will be honored on the 10th anniversary of his death with a ceremony outside the department headquarters at 11 a.m.

Dyer, a special police officer, was directing traffic at the Marshfield Fair Aug. 16, 2008, when he was struck by a vehicle that failed to stop at the intersection of Main and South River streets. Nine days later he succumbed to his injuries.

“This is something we had been planning for a couple of years now,” Chief Matthew Clancy said of the memorial.

The department previously had a plaque on display to honor Dyer, but Clancy said they felt they needed something more permanent.

“We find it is a more substantial and permanent reminder to residents and our staff of that sacrifice,” he said.

A member of the Marine Corps for more than 20 years, officer Dyer served in Vietnam and received multiple honors including the Purple Heart. He previously served with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Duxbury department. Clancy said Dyer the only Duxbury police officer to be killed in the line of duty.

The stone will be located right outside the front door of the police department, 155 Mayflower St. There will be a reception after the ceremony in the department’s training room.

Clancy said state Sen. Pat O’Connor, state Rep. Josh Cutler, District Attorney Tim Cruz and members of the Dyer family will be speaking at the memorial.


For 42nd year, kids will be off to the races again in Brockton

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By Cody Shepard

September 3, 2018

 

This Saturday will mark the 42nd season of the Kids Road Races, which are held for eight weeks in the fall and spring at D.W. Field Park.

BROCKTON — Every Saturday for the last 40-plus years, Dave Gorman could be found in the same spot -- fall and spring, rain or shine.

Well, maybe all but one.

“I think I missed one when my son was graduating from college,” he said. “But I think I sort of left late to get there so I was there, but I didn’t stay to finish it.”

On Saturday, about a hundred kids from the city and around the region will gather at D.W. Field Park for the 42nd season of the Kids Road Races.

Gorman and his wife, Judy, have put their blood, sweat and tears into the event for the last four decades. And this Saturday won’t be any different.

“I’ve been doing this for 40 years. If I didn’t do it, I don’t know if anyone else would do it,” he said. “I don’t mind doing it, I’m still healthy enough to do it and I like working with the kids.”

The most important thing for Gorman, he said, is to keep the event affordable. When the program started, it cost just a quarter per race. It later increased to 50 cents, then a dollar, where it remains.

“It’s the cheapest thing you can do in Brockton with a kid -- just a dollar a week,” he said. “I said years ago that if I ever had to raise the price over a dollar, I probably wouldn’t do it anymore.”

The races started decades ago as a school program, but were dropped due to funding cuts. That’s when Gorman stepped in. Now, usually 100 to 140 kids take part each week.

The races, which are 2.2 miles around the park, are open to children 14 years old and younger. There are 10 total divisions for boys and girls -- 6 years old and under, 7 and 8 year olds, 9 and 10 year olds, 11 and 12 year olds and 13 and 14 year olds.

The program runs eight weeks each fall, beginning about the first week of school, and in the spring. The first fall race this year is set for Sept. 8 and the last will take place on Oct. 27.

Each week, registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Pentangle parking lot, which is just past Tower Hill. The race begins sharply at 10 a.m.

Children who run at least five weeks in a season receive a trophy at the end of the year. Every week, the first three runners in each category receiving a ribbon. A pizza party is held for all participants at the end of the season.

Parents can pre-register children by emailing Gorman (irishdaveg@aol.com), but can also just show up on the day of a race.

The races are sponsored by Brockton Firefighters Local 144, the Mark Creedon Memorial Race, New Balance, Signature Healthcare, Frank’s restaurant, the Plymouth County district attorney’s office and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald Jr.

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Teen indicted in fatal East Bridgewater crash that killed 4 Stoughton students

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By Cody Shepard

September 1, 2018

The 18-year-old Stoughton man is accused of driving recklessly and under the influence of marijuana at the time of the May crash on Route 106 in East Bridgewater.

BROCKTON — An 18-year-old Stoughton man has been indicted by a grand jury on charges he caused a fatal crash that claimed the lives of four of his classmates.

Naiquan D. Hamilton was indicted late Friday as a youthful offender on four counts each of manslaughter by motor vehicle, motor vehicle homicide by operating under the influence and motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation.

The crash occurred on May 19 at 558 West St. (Route 106), in East Bridgewater.

Prosecutors say Hamilton was driving recklessly and under the influence of marijuana when he crashed into a tree, killing his four passengers.  

The crash claimed the lives of 17-year-olds David Bell, Christopher Desir and Eryck Sarblah and 16-year-old Nicholas Joyce, all students at Stoughton High School. Desir lived in Brockton at the time of the crash. Three of the victims died at the scene, while Bell was taken to Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital, where he later died.

Bell was a junior and multi-sport athlete at Stoughton High School, where he played on the boys varsity basketball and football teams. Joyce, also a junior, played on the high school’s football team. They both were also on the track and field team.

Desir was part of the local Haitian community in Brockton. He assisted in the campaign of city councilor Jean Bradley Derenoncourt, and loved to play the drums at church on Sundays. Sarblah was also a member of the track team at Stoughton High and had an interest in photography.

The five teenagers were in Bridgewater the day of the crash playing paintball.

One of the teens, Desir, had his father drive to pick him up from paintball, but when he arrived, he asked for a few bucks so he could go to a restaurant with his friends. That’s the last time his father saw him.

The car the teenagers were in, a white Hyundai Sonata sedan, was almost unrecognizable after the crash. It was wrapped around a tree and upside down in a yard near West and Laurel streets.

Steve Walsh, a Bridgewater resident, told The Enterprise the night of the crash that he was driving west on West Street, approaching Laurel Street, when he witnessed the Sonata coming from behind him.

“As I was rolling up there, I was just reaching for the directional and out of the corner of my eye I saw a car airborne that passed us on the left, going through the yards,” he said. “It was very surreal to see a car flying through the air faster than what you’re driving on the road.”

Walsh estimated the sedan was driving upwards of 100 miles per hour.

Police say they reviewed surveillance video from nearby homes, which captured the crash on camera.

Hamilton, the driver, was taken by ambulance to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton following the crash, then transferred to Boston Medical Center for treatment of unknown injuries.

The investigation found that “Hamilton was driving recklessly and under the influence of marijuana at the time of the fatal crash,” District Attorney Timothy Cruz said in a written statement.

Hamilton will be arraigned on the charges in Brockton Juvenile Court, as he was 17 years old at the time of the crash, at a later date.

The case, which was investigated by East Bridgewater police, state police detectives assigned to the Plymouth County district attorney’s office and the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Russell Eonas and Stephanie Mello.


Ex-firefighter charged with setting fire at shuttered Hanson pub

 

 

Criminal complaint charges 75-year-old Cape resident and former Boston firefighter with setting three-alarm fire.

A Bourne man has been arrested on arson charges after an investigation found that he set fire to an abandoned restaurant in Hanson, according to a statement from the Plymouth County district attorney’s office.

On July 5, at 2:54 p.m., the Hanson Fire Department received a report of a fire at JJ’s Pub, an abandoned commercial property at 16 Liberty St. Upon arrival, fire personnel discovered the interior of the structure to be fully engulfed in fire. The blaze required a three-alarm response and took some time to extinguish due to the full involvement of the structure.

Two Hanson firefighters sustained heat exhaustion injuries battling the blaze and the building was deemed a total loss as a result of this fire.

Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Section and Hanson police and the Fire Department determined that the cause was ruled incendiary and an investigation commenced, the statement said.

As a result of the investigation, Hanson police obtained a criminal complaint charging 75-year-old Alfred C. Russo of Bourne with one count of burning of a dwelling and two counts of arson causing injuries to a firefighter. Russo served as a member of the Boston Fire Department from 1969-1995, when he retired as a firefighter assigned to the Marine Unit.

Russo was arrested at his home in Bourne Wednesday afternoon by state police. He was transported to Plymouth District Court, where he was arraigned on the charges. Russo pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance and ordered to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, the statement said. The commonwealth requested that Russo be held on $15,000.

Russo is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 5.


Hanover Mall exhibit explains marijuana law in Massachusetts

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by Katherine Isbell

August 29, 2018

HANOVER — The new laws surrounding recreational marijuana can be hard for the public to understand. South Shore’s Youth Health Connection is working to break them down for teenagers and parents, as well as the effect of marijuana use on the developing teenage brain.

In an interactive exhibit at the Hanover Mall, open for the second year and newly redesigned, called “Weeding Through the Myths: Marijuana in Massachusetts,” visitors can learn about the state of recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth and the legal consequences users may face, as well as vaping and e-cigarettes, the importance of good communication between parents and teenagers and how to deal with stress and anxiety without using drugs.

“We know we voted through that retail marijuana sales will be out, however, unlike other states, it didn’t have like that midnight opening or anything, so people are kind of like, ‘What’s happening?’ Well, we don’t know, the Cannabis Control Commission is in the process of providing all of the licensing for all of those establishments,” said Kim Noble, a registered nurse and the program coordinator for Youth Health Connection, “In the meantime, we just want to help people understand what is the law, that it’s 21 and over. How do we help parents educate their own kids about that? Everything, this is all new to us, so that’s really the thing that we just want to help people understand the law.”

At a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, attendees heard from Noble, as well as Dr. Barbara Green, the medical director for Youth Health Connection, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, Antony Sheehan, the president and CEO of South Shore Mental Health, and Hanover Police Chief William Sweeney.

The exhibit itself opens to the public on Tuesday, Sept. 4 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 29. It is located inside the Hanover Mall and will be open from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 1-3 p.m. on Saturdays.


Pembroke man accused of stealing benefits from a disabled person

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by Joe DiFazio

August 27, 2018

BROCKTON - A Pembroke man was indicted by a grand jury Friday on charges of stealing more than $6,000 in state aid from a disabled person.

Christopher Gardner, 35, faces two counts of larceny, one from a disabled person. Gardner was an assistant manager at a residential group home in Whitman run by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, according to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office.

Prosecutors said that Gardner was using one of his client’s electronic benefits cards, which carries money from state assistance programs on it, to buy things without the client’s permission.

Between January 2015 and October 2017 Gardner used the client’s card to buy $6,382 worth of groceries for himself, according to prosecutors. The district attorney’s office also said that Gardner used his own grocery reward points in conjunction with the stolen benefits.

The investigation was carried out by the state auditor’s office.

The district attorney’s office said Gardner would be summonsed for an arraignment date.


Middleboro man arrested, 2 guns seized

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by Cody Shepard

August 15, 2018

Police say the man was found to have a .357 Ruger and a .22 Ruger.

MIDDLEBORO — A town man was arrested Monday evening after an investigation by detectives into guns being sold throughout the county.

State police detectives assigned to the Plymouth County district attorney’s office investigated the case, which resulted in the arrest of 47-year-old David Melville.

Police say they received information that Melville was selling firearms within Plymouth County. As a result of the investigation, police obtained a search warrant for his GMC Sierra pickup truck.

On Monday, state police located Melville and his truck at a store in Middleboro, about 5:15 p.m. Police approached Melville and detained him, then executed the search warrant on his truck.

Police say he was found to be in possession of two firearms -- a .357 Ruger and a .22 Ruger. Police also seized 56 rounds of ammunition for the revolvers.

“Detectives determined that the firearms had defaced serial numbers and seized an ammunition feeding device and ammunition,” said Beth Stone, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Timothy Cruz.

Melville was arrested and charged with two counts each of illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number and one count each of illegal possession of ammunition and illegal possession of a feeding device.

Melville pleaded not guilty Tuesday during his arraignment in Wareham District Court.

A prosecutor with the district attorney’s office requested Melville be held on $15,000 bail, but a judge set bail at $10,000 with the condition he wear a GPS-monitoring bracelet if he posts bail.

The case was investigated by the state police detectives assigned to Cruz’s office, who were assisted by the Massachusetts State Police Commonwealth Interstate Narcotic Reduction Enforcement Team, State Police Special Tactical Operations Team, State Police Gang Unit and Middleboro police.


Wareham: Buzzards Bay Man Convicted in Connection With Deadly Motorcycle Crash

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By Dan McCready

August 14,

A conviction was handed down for a Buzzards Bay man in connection with a 2016 crash that left a motorcyclist dead. 

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office says that 52-year-old Tom Traggis was found guilty of one count of Motor Vehicle Manslaughter. 

The charges stem from an incident that took place on May 29, 2016, after Traggis and the victim, 51-year-old Philip Rigney of Medway, were leaving Shenanigans bar and restaurant on Cranberry Highway in Wareham. 

Rigney left shortly before 10 p.m. and Traggis left moments after, the two men had no previous interaction. 

Traggis’s Chevy Blazer struck Rigney’s motorcycle roughly a half mile down the road causing Rigney to be ejected. 

Traggis lost control, drove over a guardrail, and struck a tree. 

He then left his vehicle and fled the scene. 

Traggis was stopped by a motorist who flagged down a police officer. 

The DA’s Office says Traggis failed field sobriety tests, and officers placed him under arrest. 

Rigney sustained critical injuries and was pronounced dead on June 3, 2016. 

Sentencing for Traggis will take place September 6 in Plymouth Superior Court.

Traggis was found not guilty of Leaving the Scene of Personal Injury Resulting in Death.

 


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