BROCKTON — After several lengthy delays, former contractor Matthew Will, 38, of Pembroke, who once ran 5-Star Discount Roofing in Halifax, was arraigned on the fifth try before Judge Gregg Pasquale Wednesday, July 17, at Plymouth Superior Court, Brockton.
Court officials, prosecutors, or corrections officials have offered no explanation for the numerous delays in Will’s Superior Court arraignment. Will was arrested at his Pembroke home on Thursday, May 9, after law enforcement sent in dogs to convince Will to surrender, more than two months earlier.
When police attempted to execute the search warrant at the Pembroke home, according to sources close to the investigation, Will hid in his attic. After several attempts to negotiate with him, Zane said law enforcement officials sent dogs into the attic to extricate him, sources say was for their own protection. Will wrestled with the dogs, eventually falling through his attic ceiling and injuring himself.
He appeared in the arraignment courtroom in Brockton before Judge Pasquale in the prisoners’ dock shackled and wearing jail garb, with a sling around his arm. Tilden argued that Will had been seriously injured at the time of his arrest, and Zane did not disagree, but Pasquale pointedly said to her, “Well, he shouldn’t have resisted arrest,” to which she smiled and redirected her argument.
Will has been held at a state-run hospital in a Department of Corrections prison ward at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Boston, almost continuously since he was taken into custody May 9. His attorney said his family, including his partner, Tina Bowles, and his mother, who both attended the arraignment, have not been able to visit him there according to Tilden.
Tilden did not detail Will’s injuries, nor have they been made public. She said that his family is struggling financially and psychologically without him and is being forced out of their home.
Zane said investigators did not find any money in the Pembroke house when it was searched but did find packed suitcases that would appear to allow Will to live “off the grid.” He also said that Will had ties to two states, with property in New Hampshire and Maine.
The former roofer, who Plymouth County prosecutors say allegedly stole over $250,000 from more than 50 mostly elderly or otherwise vulnerable victims across the region over about 18 months, has been indicted on 18 mostly financial-related criminal charges. The alleged victims so far known to investigators are from Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Falmouth, Hanson, Kingston, Middleboro, Easton, Pembroke, Plympton, Rockland and Wareham.
Assistant District Attorney Zane emphasized that some of the alleged victims, many concentrated at the Oak Point 55+ community in Middleboro, gave Will their life savings to do emergency repairs to their homes, which he allegedly partially completed or did not complete at all. Some alleged victims gave Will several hundred dollars where others lost tens of thousands of dollars, Zane said.
Police made attempts to arrest Will in Central Massachusetts and into Rhode Island on default warrants resulting in two separate high speed-chases. Police reports indicate those chases were called off because some of Will’s children were in his car. Rockland Police arrested him May 4 after Zane said Will took a ride-sharing service from Rhode Island to Rockland.
For unknown reasons, according to Zane, Will was next transported by Rockland Police to Hingham District Court which has jurisdiction over the Town of Rockland, but where Will had no open warrants.
There, over the course of only a few minutes, according to audio of the hearing, a judge who was not told of Will’s recent high-speed chases by the Rockland Police prosecutor released him on personal recognizance.
The Hingham Court judge did order Will’s common-law wife, Tina Bowles, to drive him to Wareham District Court to deal with open warrants before that court closed at 4:30 p.m., according to the recording.
Will’s attorney, Plymouth-based Charlotte Tilden, says Will fell ill, called the clerk’s office in Hingham letting them know and has a doctor’s note to prove it. Prosecutors say Will failed to appear in Wareham District Court, which prompted them to apply for the search warrant that was executed May 9 on his Furnace Colony Drive, Pembroke, family home.
Will pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges and is being held on $75,000 bail.