WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The mother of the now lone suspect in the murder of an elderly Woonsocket woman is concerned a tip detailed in a court document last year was overlooked by police, and she insists her son did not have the mental capacity to understand his rights when he was questioned.
Matthew Dusseault, 21, and Tyler Grenon, 24, were arrested last July and charged with murder.
A grand jury indicted Dussealt earlier this month, but what was said to be a lack of evidence prompted the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office to dismiss the charges against Grenon.
Dusseault’s mother, Paula Gauthier, who said she and her son are related to the victim, cited court documents filed about three months before her son was arrested.
The warrants to search a phone and a Woonsocket apartment named three men, and detailed a woman’s claim that one of them had returned home “covered in blood” around the time of the Gauthier murder.
The woman also said the men said they had gone to rob an elderly woman but “ended up stabbing her.”
“It states clearly how someone sees someone come home covered in blood and they talk about how they rob this woman,” Gauthier said. “Three months later it’s washed away? And I’ve asked, ‘where are those other people?’ and I did not get any answers.”
Court records indicate one of the men named in the document was arrested about three months after the Gauthier murder for a break-in and assault of an elderly North Smithfield man.
Woonsocket Deputy Chief Michael Lemoine would not comment about that particular lead but said Gauthier “is certainly within her right to offer her opinion.”
“As to her opinion about her son, his actions, his intellectual capacity and our investigation: we have no comment,” Lemoine added.
Gauthier emphasized that her son has been mentally disabled most of his life, with an IQ below 70.
According to a search warrant affidavit filed after Dusseault’s arrest, he was read his Miranda Rights.
But Gauthier doubts he understood them, or knew he could’ve asked for an attorney to represent him before he was questioned.
“If you ask him something he may say, ‘oh yes. Yes,'” Gauthier said. “But in reality he has no idea what you just said, unless you take the time and say, ‘Matthew, are you really understanding what I said?’ and you break down those words to him.”
She recalled a conversation shortly before her son was questioned at the police station the day he was charged.
“He went down without a problem. Respects the law. Never had a problem with the law,” Gauthier said. His dad actually called him and said, ‘are you OK?’ And he said, ‘yeah, not a problem.'”
That afternoon, hours after police started questioning Dusseault, Gauthier said she went to the station to check on him and make sure the detectives understood his disability.
“Not one person acknowledged me,” Gauthier recalled. “They said, ‘sit down. We’ll come out and get you.'”
Dusseault was charged with murder that night but according to his mother, a detective offered a detail about his involvement.
“I will never forget these words,” Gauthier said. “We don’t believe he did this. We know he was not the mastermind.”
About a week later, another court filing alleged DNA found at the murder scene matched Paula Gauthier’s father, or a biological son.
Gauthier said the DNA could’ve been left at the scene at an earlier date since her son had been in the house before.
“He had helped her with groceries,” she said. “He had helped her with numerous things in her house, because that’s what my son did.”
A court document stated her son told police he saw Grenon stab Gauthier while wearing “plastic covering on his feet, gloves and protective wear…to not leave evidence.”
According to several documents, the scene was staged to look like a robbery but to this day, an alleged motive has not been released by investigators.
“I just felt for everyone’s pain and hurt,” Gauthier said. “I knew Connie. I know family members. But again, something is not right here. He says, ‘I didn’t do this. I didn’t do this.’ I believe him.”
Dusseault is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 30 on a charge of first-degree murder and is currently being held without bail.
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said the agency is “unable to comment” on the case.