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Fall River man on probation for armed robbery of elderly woman, sentenced after girlfriend assault



A 34-year-old Fall River man arrested last month while on probation related to a 2015 conviction for robbing and kidnapping a 79-year-old woman in Fall River was sentenced to serve an additional two years in state prison for violating his probation, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Matthew Rocha, who was also on probation out of Rhode Island, was arrested by Fall River Police on March 1 after a February 28th incident involving his girlfriend. On February 28th, the victim called her friend in North Carolina in hysterics, stating that the defendant “choked her and messed up her face.” She described injuries to her face and informed her friend that she was calling from inside her truck. She also told her friend that the defendant begged her not to call the police. The friend contracted Fall River Police and relayed all the victim had told her, including the victim’s exact location.

When police arrived, they documented and photographed the victim’s injuries despite her refusal to cooperate or give a full statement.

During a probation surrender hearing in Fall River Superior Court on April 1, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Wiley submitted the friend’s 911 call recording, the police officer’s photographs and his testimony into evidence.

After hearing all the evidence, Judge Sharon Donatelle found the defendant to be in violation of the terms of his probation and sentenced him to serve two years in state prison.

The defendant had been on probation for robbing a 79-year-old woman at knife point after laying in wait for a vulnerable victim outside of a Fall River Stop and Shop grocery store. After confronting the woman with the knife, he forced her into her car, robbed her of $100 and made her drive him to another location in Fall River. He was sentenced on June 24, 2015 to serve four-and-a-half to five-and-a-half years in prison and an additional five years of probation.

“Despite being on probation for assaulting a 79-year-old woman at knife point, the defendant punched and strangled his girlfriend, causing injury to her. Unfortunately the victim would not cooperate with our office. However, the 911 tape and other evidence helped establish that the defendant assaulted her. He will at least be off the streets for two years,” District Attorney Quinn said.

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