WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Judge Richard Raspallo Wednesday denied bail for the defendant in a 2016 murder of an elderly woman.
Matthew Dusseault, 22, has been held without bail since his arrest last year, and was indicted in January in connection with the murder of 81-year old Constance Gauthier.
Gauthier, a well-known school department employee, was stabbed more than 70 times according to the autopsy. The motive and murder weapon are among the missing pieces in the case.
The two-day bail hearing, split up over three weeks due to a number of factors, included testimony from three Woonsocket police officers and a state DNA expert.
R.I. Department of Health DNA lab supervisor Cara Lupino told the court Dusseault’s touch DNA, probably skin cells, was found in three locations on furniture near where the body was found.
In some spots, Dusseault’s DNA was mixed with what was likely Gauthier’s blood, according to Lupino.
Testimony from Woonsocket Police Detective Anthony Conetta indicated the investigation is still open and active.
Conetta surprised the defense when he told the court a possible murder weapon recovered in November from Dusseault’s previous apartment is currently being tested.
Prosecutors argued the DNA evidence establishes Dusseault committed the crime and should be held without bail until trial.
Dusseault’s defense attorneys Kevin Salvaggio and Michael Lepizzera countered the DNA does not put their client in the home during the murder and is not enough to hold him without bail or convict him of murder.
Lupino testified DNA from two unidentified males was discovered at the scene, but none of the genetic evidence matched any other possible suspects, including Gauthier’s neighbor Tyler Grenon.
Woonsocket Police Lt. Ronald Marcos told the court Grenon was at the scene as he arrived, pointed to the body through a damaged window and helped him get in the home.
Within days of the murder, Grenon was arrested for witness intimidation and obstruction of justice after allegedly knocking on the doors of two houses near Gauthier’s home.
“The homeowners were fearful of Mr. Grenon,” Marcos said.
A police officer lived at one of the homes Grenon checked. Conetta testified the officer reported Grenon was trying “to obtain the security footage.”
According to testimony, one video showed an unidentified person dressed in dark clothing “walking back toward” the victim’s home around the time of the murder.
Conetta testified the individual “was never identified.”
Testimony also indicated an unidentified car was parked in front of Gauthier’s home for several hours around the time of the murder, which according to Conetta happened up to two days before the body was found.
The 2016 charges against Grenon involving the surveillance video were dropped shortly after they were filed.
A 2018 murder charge against him was dismissed without prejudice earlier this year due to a lack of physical evidence.
Dusseault was indicted for murder in January.
Conetta told the court even with Dusseault charged, Grenon “is not cleared.”
“There’s still a lot to be learned in this case,” Conetta said during the hearing.
Grenon has not responded to multiple requests for comment.