Man charged in death of fan at Patriots game reports

Man charged in death of fan at Patriots game, reports say "Of course I'm innocent" -CBS Boston

WRENTHAM — John Vieira, one of two men criminally charged in the death of New England Patriots fan Dale Mooney at Gillette Stadium last fall, said he was innocent after his first court appearance in the case Friday.

Vieira, 59, of Warwick, Rhode Island, was arraigned in a brief hearing in Wrentham District Court. He pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and disorderly conduct in connection with the fight in the stands on September 17, 2023.

John Vieira in Wrentham District Court, January 19, 2024. CBS Boston

Vieira didn't have a lawyer and asked for a public defender to represent him. He was released on a promise to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 26 and was ordered to stay away from Gillette Stadium and Mooney's family.

Vieira did not want to speak to reporters outside the court after the hearing, but responded briefly to a question: “Of course I'm innocent.”

Mooney, 53, died after collapsing during a brawl with a group of fans in the stands during a game between the Patriots and Miami Dolphins. Vieira and 39-year-old Justin Mitchell, of Warwick, were charged in December after a lengthy investigation into the brawl. Mitchell will be arraigned on the same charge on Jan. 26.

The video showed Dale Mooney before the altercation at Gillette Stadium on September 17, 2023. CBS Boston

The coroner concluded that Mooney's death was homicide, but that he had a heart condition and died when the fight caused his heart to go into an abnormal rhythm. The Norfolk District Attorney's Office said there was insufficient evidence to charge Vieira and Mitchell with causing Mooney's death.

Court documents released Friday show there were two fights that night, in which police wrote that Mooney was willingly involved and even said he instigated a fight at some point. But then police focused on Vieira, saying: “During the fight, Mr. Viera struck Mr. Mooney once in the head area. This appears to be a glancing blow.”

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