2018 Dartmouth murder trial begins in Fall River

Dec 2, 2022

The murder trial of 52-year-old Robert Rose, a former New Bedford resident, began on Thursday, Dec. 1 in Fall River Superior Court.

Rose is charged with shooting and killing 37-year-old Joseph Tavares on Dec. 22, 2018 outside the Regency Hotel on Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth.

During opening statements, Deputy District Attorney William McCauley told the jury the defendant approached the victim's vehicle for a planned meeting with him.

Within minutes of getting into the passenger seat of the victim's vehicle, the defendant is accused of firing three shots, striking the victim in the head and the neck. After exiting the vehicle, the defendant is accused of shooting the victim again in the left cheek.

The two men knew each other through drug dealing, with the defendant frequently purchasing from the victim, according to the district attorney’s office.

At around 10:30 p.m. on the night of the murder, Dartmouth Police received a 911 call from the night manager at the hotel reporting that a man was bleeding heavily inside a car in the hotel’s rear parking lot.

When first responders arrived minutes later, they found the victim sitting unresponsive in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

Tavares, who resided in Fall River, was suffering from gunshot wounds and was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, where he was pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m., according to the district attorney’s office.

McCauley went on to tell the jury that the motive for the killing was robbery and that during the following weeks, he would be presenting evidence to prove the defendant's guilt.

Among that evidence is a coat belonging to the defendant which had a firearm inside its pocket that matches the murder weapon and the shell casings discovered at the scene.

The Commonwealth also plans to call as witnesses in the case two other individuals who were scheduled to meet with the victim in the same parking lots on the night of the slaying, the mother of the defendant's child and others, the district attorney’s office said.

The trial is expected to continue well into next week before testimony is concluded.