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Alleged Taunton hate crime suspect from Brockton held as danger to community

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A 34-year-old Brockton man who allegedly entered onto a Taunton couple’s property and violently assaulted one of them in what is alleged to be a “hate crime,” was deemed dangerous and ordered held without bail after a Superior Court Dangerousness Hearing was held earlier this month, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Michael Cates was indicted in November 2020 by the grand jury on charges of Civil Rights Violation, Assault and Battery to Intimidate with Injury and Aggravated assault and Battery. He was also indicted for an assault and battery on a fellow inmate at the Bristol County House of Corrections. The jail assault occurred in August, 2020, while the defendant was being held in relation to the alleged Taunton “hate crime.”

On June 29, 2020, the male victim was interviewed by a Taunton Police Officer after he reported being assaulted on his property. During the interview, the victim explained that he and his husband were outside their Taunton home, when the suspect drove by his house in an SUV. The suspect stopped his SUV, exited the vehicle and angrily entered onto the victim’s property. The suspect then, according to the victim, yelled a homosexual slur, and punched the victim twice in the face, causing him to lose two teeth. The suspect then retreated back to his vehicle and drove off. The suspect and the victim are apparently unknown to one another.

An independent witness and the victim’s husband both witnessed the assault occur.

The home had a gay pride flag flying and a rainbow sticker on its mailbox.

An initial investigation conducted by Taunton Police eventually led to the defendant as the chief suspect. After numerous interviews were conducted and surveillance footage was reviewed, Taunton Police officially filed charges against the defendant on July 23rd, and summonsed him into Taunton District Court for arraignment in August. The defendant was found dangerous during a district court dangerousness hearing and has been held without bail ever since. The November indictments, however, transferred the case up to the Superior Court level.

The case in Superior Court is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jeanne Veenstra. A dangerousness hearing was held in Fall River Superior Court on February 9. Judge Thomas Perrino initially took the matter under advisement before ruling that the defendant was a danger to the pubic and ordered him held without bail for up to 180 days while the Commonwealth proceeds towards bringing the case to trial.

“I am pleased with the court’s decision to hold the defendant without bail because he is a danger to the community. Based on the defendant’s record and the senseless and violent nature of the allegations, he should remain in jail while the case is pending.,” District Attorney Quinn said.

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