Fairhaven man convicted in New Bedford slaying at homeless encampment

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“A 43-year-old Fairhaven man was convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter late yesterday afternoon after a 16-day jury trial in Fall River Superior Court, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Matthew Lariviere was convicted of the August 5, 2019 killing of Robert Jones III at a homeless encampment in a wooded area behind 105 Nauset Street.

During a sentencing hearing held immediately after the verdict was announced, Assistant District Attorneys Shawn Guilderson and Matthew Sylvia argued for a 17 to 20 year state prison sentence, while the defense requested a more lenient eight to 12 year prison term. The maximum sentence for the crime is 20 years in prison. Judge Raffi Yessayan sentenced the defendant to serve 12 to 15 years in state prison.

On August 8, 2019 at approximately 11am, the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office was advised by Detective Kevin Lawless of the Major Crimes Unit for the New Bedford Police Department that a missing person in their city may have been the victim of a homicide. Two days earlier, on August 6, 2019, at approximately 6:57pm, a New Bedford Police officer was dispatched to the area of 105 Nauset Street based on anonymous male party claiming there was a deceased human body in the wooded area behind that address. Upon arrival, the male party informed police that the discarded body of Robert Jones aka “Lawrence”, who died as a result of stab wounds, would be found in a wooded area along a set of railroads tracks that run parallel to Nauset Street, and drew a map of the area for officers.

This wooded area was being used as a homeless encampment comprised of a loose collection of various structures consisting of tents and tarps located throughout the wooded area north of Nauset Street and south of Nash Road. The male party stated that he had been staying in the homeless encampment for several weeks and identified others living in the woods as well, including his cousin, the homicide victim, and “Matt,” subsequently identified as the defendant, Matthew Lariviere.

The male party went on to say that the defendant confessed to the killing, saying he stabbed the victim after the victim accused him of stealing his backpack.

After searching the area, police eventually discovered the victims body hidden under a tarp. The medical examiner was able to count at least 137 stab wounds. Investigators also located the knife used and bloody clothes belonging to the defendant.

“The defendant brutally killed the victim, but unfortunately there were no eye witnesses. The jury found that there was an issue of self-defense in the case or some other mitigating factors. I respect the jury’s verdict,” District Attorney Quinn said. “The defendant has a long history of drug abuse. His violent and excessive conduct clearly demonstrates that he poses a danger to the public.”

The defendant is also awaiting trial for alleged criminal conduct he engaged in during the initial investigation into this homicide. In that case, he is charged with Armed Carjacking and Armed Robbery.

On the evening of August 6, 2019, while police were speaking to the reporting male party, New Bedford Police responded to a carjacking by knife in the area of 570 North Front Street. Upon arrival there, they met with a female victim, who explained that while she was placing her infant son into his car seat in her grey Toyota Corolla, a male, later identified as the defendant, approached her while armed with a knife and demanded money.

The male then ordered her to take her son out of the car, at which point he stole the vehicle. Due to the fact that her handbag and cell phone were still in the car after the defendant drove off with it, she and the police were able to track the location of the car as it drove through the city. Police were able to locate the car as it was driving in the area of Belleville Avenue, and when they attempted to stop the car, the defendant failed to stop. A brief motor vehicle pursuit led to the car crashing, and the defendant fleeing on foot for a short distance before being apprehended by the police. At the time of his arrest, the defendant was wearing red shorts, a light t-shirt, and brown boots.

Police also learned that between the armed carjacking and their locating the car, there had been another robbery at knife point at the Shop and Save located at 807 Ashley Boulevard, in which the store clerk was approached by a male, matching the description of the defendant, armed with a knife. The defendant took money from the cash register and fled.”

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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