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Evidence in Woonsocket murder includes knives, former suspect’s testimony

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The one-time suspect in the murder of an elderly Woonsocket woman is on the list of witnesses the state may call against the remaining defendant, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

A cache of evidence released by the state in the Constance Gauthier stabbing includes knives, DNA evidence and the defendant’s police interrogation that was questioned for its constitutionality by his mother.

Gauthier, 81, was stabbed more than 60 times, according to the autopsy report, and discovered inside her home on March 23, 2016.

More than two years later, Matthew Dusseault, 21, and Tyler Grenon, 24, were arrested and charged with murdering her. Dusseault told police he witnessed Grenon stab Gauthier with “two knives,” a 2018 search warrant affidavit stated.

The case against Grenon, who at one point was the victim’s neighbor, was dismissed earlier this year for what was said to be a lack of physical evidence.

According to prosecution court filings, Grenon “is expected to testify” about several statements he made to investigators since the 2016 murder.

One of the documents also indicates 12 knives were seized from Dusseault and three were seized from Grenon, but investigators have not said if the suspected murder weapons were found.

No one has mentioned the possible motive either, and according to Dusseault’s statement to police, the crime was “staged” to look like a robbery.

The list of potential witnesses also includes a group of people named in an April 2018 Woonsocket Police warrant to search a phone and an apartment.

The affidavit is built around a statement from a woman who said her daughter recalled a friend coming home “covered in blood” around the time of the Gauthier murder.

According to the document, three men and a woman went to a home to rob an elderly woman but two of them “ended up stabbing her.”

The potential witnesses include Lee Gervais, who was later convicted of robbing an elderly man in the victim’s North Smithfield home.

Evidence released to the defense also includes the video recording and 245-page transcript from Dusseault’s police interview.

Dusseault’s mother, Paula Gauthier, has questioned the interrogation of her son who, according to court documents, admitted he was in the victim’s home when she was stabbed to death. But he implicated Grenon, insisting he tried to stop the violence and was pushed away.

Dusseault’s mother claims Matthew was not mentally competent to understand his Miranda Rights before he was questioned by police, emphasizing he’s been mentally disabled most of his life, with an IQ below 70.

Twenty-six grand jury exhibits were also released to the defense, along with a long list of forensic evidence.

Police said lab tests show DNA found at the murder scene matched Paula Gauthier’s father “or a biological son,” potentially linking Dusseault to the crime.

Dusseault has been held without bail since last July, with a bail hearing scheduled for later this month.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.

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