Two Men Charged With Assault After New England Patriots Fan Dies

Posted on: December 22, 2023, 08:37h. 

Last updated on: December 22, 2023, 10:33h.

Two Rhode Island residents have been charged after September’s death of a New England Patriots fan during a game, according to news reports published on Thursday. The death was ruled a homicide.

Dale Mooney
Dale Mooney, right, with his wife Lisa and other family members, pictured above. His death during a Patriots’ game was ruled a homicide. (Image: Lisa Mooney)

The suspects, John Vieira, 59, and Justin Mitchell, 39, both of Warwick, RI, were each charged with assault and battery, and disorderly conduct. Their court cases are pending.

The pair both took part in a struggle during a September 17 game at Massachusetts’ Gillette Stadium. A third man, Dale Mooney, 53, died following the fight.

Initially, there was conflicting information about who, if anyone, was to blame for Mooney’s passing.

Death a Homicide

The death was ruled a homicide by the Office of Massachusetts’ Chief Medical Examiner. But a local prosecutor’s office concluded the case doesn’t warrant murder charges.

Mooney suffered from severe atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, an autopsy revealed.

The fight led him to have a “probable cardiac dysrhythmia,” according to the medical examiner’s office. That linked to his death.

Given the confusion over the incident, authorities had to unravel sometimes conflicting evidence.

It’s known that the three men were in the stadium’s upper deck during the game between the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. That’s where a dispute broke out between Mooney, who was wearing a Patriots jersey, and two others. The two were identified as Mitchell, who was wearing a Dolphins jersey, and George Chiarillo, 39.

The heated argument soon escalated, with Vieira and Mitchell allegedly punching Mooney in the head. Mooney lost consciousness and EMTs attempted to revive him for about 10 minutes. He was then rushed to Sturdy Memorial Hospital, where he died.

“Preliminary autopsy results did not suggest traumatic injury, but did identify a medical issue,” the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office announced in a Sept. 20 statement.

Conflicting Statements

Police interviewed many fans in the area of the fight and also reviewed cell phone videos taken by those in the crowd.

Multiple witnesses would later report that, based on his actions and statements, Mr. Mooney wanted to fight Mr. Mitchell and was trying to coax Mr. Mitchell into fighting him,” Foxborough, Mass. police detective Mark Bohnenberger wrote in a report quoted by the New York Post.

In September, Joseph Kilmartin, who also was attending the game, told Boston TV station WCVB, that Mooney “basically grabbed another fan.

“They started tussling around for a few minutes. At one point, another fan walked over. He punched him … and [Mooney] just went out,” ABC News reported.

It was also revealed by The Boston Globe that Chiarillo got into an unrelated fight during that same game. He was charged with assault and battery, and disorderly conduct. He has pleaded not guilty.

Mooney resided in Newmarket, NH. He was buried dressed in a Patriots Mac Jones jersey, the Post reported. Jones plays as a quarterback for the team.