Suspects arrested in Taunton cold case murder

Taunton cold case murder suspects_238549

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Two men were apprehended early Tuesday morning in connection to an unsolved murder in Taunton, the office of Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III announced.

The DA’s office said state and local police detectives arrested Jeremy Rhoden and Donnelle Bates without incident in the death of 33-year-old Joseph Dugan.

Dugan was shot to death outside an apartment building on Granite Street in July of 2010, according to the DA’s office.

“We never give up on homicides that aren’t charged initially,” DA Quinn said Tuesday. “With persistence and dedication, evidence was gathered and charged were filed.”

Jeremy Rhoden (left) and Donnelle Bates (Mugshots courtesy of Taunton Police)

Bates, 26, and Rhoden, 25, were arraigned Tuesday. Both pleaded not guilty and were ordered held without bail. Quinn handled both arraignments personally.

In court, Quinn said Bates and Rhoden were acting in retaliation against the murder of Tigan Hollingsworth. The two men were his friends and pall bearers at his funeral.

Although, prosecutors said they shot the wrong person in a case of mistaken identity.

“It appears at this point that the victim was not connected to these two defendants,” said Quinn.

Bates and Rhoden were arrested after Bates’ uncle confessed to picking the pair up from the murder scene and hearing them talk about getting rid of a gun, according to Quinn. The district attorney said evidence indicates it was Rhoden who pulled the trigger.

Quinn said he met the victim’s family Tuesday, who’ve waited more than five years for justice.

“They seemed pleased, but when you’re dealing with someone that’s been murdered, a family member, pleased is different than getting a Christmas present,” he added. “My hope is just to give them hope that the matter is on track and that we’re going to pursue holding these two accountable in court.”

Taunton Police Captain John Reardon was at the scene of the 2010 murder and he was one of the persistent investigators that worked the case since day one.

“The family gave me a picture of Joey, and every day I saw that picture of Joey,” he said outside court. “This is emotional for me. I’m so happy.”

Reardon said he’s grown close to Dugan’s family over the years and there are few words to describe his relief that arrests have finally been made.

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