A 54-year-old former New Bedford man pleaded guilty on Friday to a brutal tire iron assault of a New Bedford woman in 2003, and was sentenced to serve eight to 12 years in state prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.
David Reed pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, Armed Robbery, and Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon. Reed has also been charged in the 2001 cold case murder of Rose Marie Moniz.
On June 10, 2003 at approximately 10:45 PM, a citizen was inside his apartment located at 95 Emma Street in New Bedford when he heard a female screaming for help. The screams he heard were coming from the direction of the Oceanside Plaza, which was a short distance down a hill from Emma Street. When he opened the door to get a better look, the witness saw the victim and noticed that she was covered in blood. The victim had been bludgeoned with a tire iron and pretended to be dead in a successful effort to get the defendant to leave the area. She described how the perpetrator of this assault had taken her to a secluded area where he beat her with a tire iron before pushing her out of the car and “left her to die there” in the dark, isolated alley. After the assault, the suspect took her pocketbook before leaving the area.
On July 31, 2003, the victim was at her Durfee Street home when she saw the man who had attacked her and robbed her of her pocketbook circling her neighborhood in his truck. When she saw him on that date, she immediately told other family members and attempted to call a detective who was investigating her case. While she was doing that, her nephew observed the truck drive by her house a second time. At that time the nephew and five other individuals jumped into their minivan to follow the suspect’s truck. As they got into the minivan, the suspect drove by the home a third time allowing the nephew and the others to catch up to the truck in their car. While attempting to flee from the nephew, the defendant’s truck struck a parked vehicle but continued to drive away in an attempt to lose them. As the minivan followed, the nephew’s passengers were able to get a police officer’s attention as they followed the pickup by the New Bedford High School.
A New Bedford Police sergeant observed the vehicles and called in their location and requested assistance. As a result, other cruisers were dispatched to the area of New Bedford High School to assist in stopping the pickup truck. A responding officer was approaching from the other direction in a marked cruiser with his lights on when the defendant attempted to avoid being stopped at the intersection of Hillman Street and Rockdale Avenue. The defendant attempted to avoid apprehension by crashing his pickup truck head-on into the cruiser, causing it significant damage and injuring the officer. Even after the crash, the defendant attempted to use his truck in an attempt to push the cruiser out of the way to facilitate his escape. Other responding officers arrived within moments of the crash and were able to apprehend the suspect and take him from the pickup truck.
The defendant was charged at the time with both the robbery and assault of the victim and the incident involving the ramming of the police cruiser. However, he was released on bail. The case was scheduled for a jury trial on June 10, 2004, but the defendant never appeared in court.
The defendant fled the state of Massachusetts and lived in Florida and Hawaii before moving to Alabama where he resided for almost 10 years. Reed remained a fugitive from May of 2004 until he was finally apprehended and extradited back to Massachusetts 11 years later on May 7, 2015. Unfortunately, the assault victim had died in Boston just six months prior to his 2015 arrest. The charges related to her case were dismissed on March 25, 2016, because there was insufficient evidence at that time on which the Commonwealth could proceed to trial.
Although prosecutors could not go forward on those charges at that time, the defendant was held on an indictment for felony bail jumping and still had the pending charges that he had defaulted on related to his attempt to flee and the resulting police cruiser crash. He was sentenced to serve 3 ½ to 4 years in the state prison on those charges.
During the ensuing years, investigators from District Attorney Quinn’s office and New Bedford Police were able to corroborate all of the details of the assault on the female 2003 victim through a number of witnesses and other sources. Many of these witnesses have indicated that the defendant himself admitted to assaulting the victim.
During a sentencing hearing last Friday in front of Judge Raffi Yessayan, Assistant District Attorney Caleb Weiner argued for a stiffer 15 to 20-year state prison term, while the defendant requested a more lenient five to seven-year prison sentence.
“The defendant brutally assaulted the victim with a tire iron, causing serious injuries that could have resulted in her death. He then fled the state to avoid prosecution until he was arrested in Alabama in 2015 and returned to Massachusetts,” District Attorney Quinn said. “Unfortunately the victim died shortly before his arrest, but I hope this sentence brings some solace to her relatives and friends that justice was finally served.”