Two Rhode Island Men Charged With Assault At Gillette Stadium That Led To Death Of New England Patriots Fan

Justin Mitchell, 39, and John Vieira, 59, from Warwick, Rhode Island, have been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct stemming from a fight at Gillette Stadium in September that led to the death of 53-year-old New England Patriots fan Dale Mooney.

Mitchell and Viera got into a fight with Mooney in the upper deck of the stadium on Sept. 17 during the Patriots’ game against the Miami Dolphins.

Assault Charges Filed

“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,” Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said in a press release.

Foxborough police said Mitchell and Viera got into an altercation with Mooney in the stands and punched Mooney, who collapsed at the game. Mooney later died at a local hospital.

“I just feel numb; I can’t even believe this is for real,” Mooney’s wife Lisa WCVB after the death of her husband. “I don’t understand why people have to go to that extreme. Why can’t it just be fun? That’s all it’s supposed to be, just a fun family event.”

Mitchell And Viera Won’t Be Charged With Homicide

After the autopsy the office of the chief medical examiner ruled Mooney died as a result of homicide but prosecutors said the evidence didn’t support bringing those charges.

“The review of the available evidence, including the autopsy results and multiple angles of video capturing the incident, did not determine that the evidence established a basis for criminal prosecution of charges related to homicide in Mr. Mooney’s death,” the release read.

According to the medical examiner Mooney’s cause of death was “probable cardiac dysrhythmia in a person with severe hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease during a physical altercation.”

Given the language from the district attorney there clearly was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges. So the fight led to the medical incident, which Mooney ultimately died from. But it would be a leap to charge Mitchell and Viera with his death, according to the DA.

Mitchell and Viera will be arraigned separately in January.

The release also mentioned “multiple angles of video capturing the incident.” Perhaps that suggests who instigated the fight and maybe Mooney wasn’t an innocent bystander who got assaulted. Maybe he provoked the fight?

As Mooney’s wife said, it is unfathomable that people take things to these extreme events at a sporting event. For a few hours people should be able to root for whomever they want and go home at the end without incident.

But violence is baked into the fabric of American culture. Not only is it commonplace, it is celebrated. Plus sports creates a tribal, mob mentality in fans.

Mooney is survived by his wife and their two children.

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