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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A Fairhaven man was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for stabbing a homeless man to death over a backpack in a crime spree that also allegedly included armed carjacking and robbery, the Bristol County District Attorney’s office announced.
Matthew Lariviere, 43, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors learned on August 6, 2019, police were called to an area behind Nauset Street around 7 p.m. for the report of a body found.
There, police met a man who told them the body was near the railroad tracks. Police found the body under a tarp and he was identified as Robert Jones III, who the man called “Lawrence.” Investigators said he was stabbed at least 137 times.
The man also told police that “Matt,” who had been living in the homeless encampment with him and the victim, had confessed to the killing and claimed the victim was trying to steal his backpack.
Just minutes after the initial call, Lariviere was allegedly involved in a carjacking. Police met with a woman on North Front Street who said a man had approached her with a knife and demanded money, then ordered her to take her infant son out of the car and proceeded to steal it and drive off.
Police were able to track the car due to the woman’s phone still being inside and engaged in a brief car chase with the suspect. He crashed near Belleville Avenue, then got out and continued running before police apprehended him.
Police later learned that between the killing and carjacking, Lariviere also allegedly committed an armed robbery at knifepoint at the Shop and Save on Ashley Boulevard.
Lariviere is charged with armed carjacking and armed robbery from the subsequent incidents and is awaiting trial on those charges.
Police were able to recover the bloody clothes and knife from the killing.
“The defendant brutally killed the victim, but unfortunately there were no eyewitnesses,” District Attorney Thomas Quinn III said. “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. The defendant has a long history of drug abuse. His violent and excessive conduct clearly demonstrates that he poses a danger to the public.”
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