A Bristol Country grand jury on Friday indicted a Fall River man and his girlfriend on murder and neglect charges stemming from the October death of the man’s 14-year-old intellectually disabled son, who had fentanyl in his system at the time he died, authorities said.
In a statement, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III’s office identified the defendants as John Almond, 33, and Jaclyn Marie Coleman, 26. It wasn’t immediately clear who is representing the pair in court.
Almond and Coleman were both indicted on charges of second-degree murder and neglect of a disabled person resulting in serious bodily injury, the statement said. Coleman was also indicted on a charge of withholding evidence for allegedly trying to destroy a cellphone in the presence of police officers.
The case stems from the Oct. 21 death of 14-year-old David Almond, as well as the alleged neglect of his sibling, Michael Almond, according to officials.
Quinn said in Monday’s statement that the allegations are highly troubling.
“The facts and circumstances relating to the indictments are extremely disturbing and egregious. I want to thank the prosecutors for their efforts in investigating,” Quinn said. “We look forward to prosecuting these matters in superior court.”
A Fall River police report filed in court laid out details of the case.
The report said a detective was informed around 8:40 a.m. on Oct. 21 that David Almond, one of triplets with intellectual disabilities, had died at Charlton Memorial Hospital. He lived in an apartment on Green Street with his two brothers and another boy who is Coleman’s biological son, as well as John Almond’s mother, the report said.
One of David Almond’s brothers and Coleman’s son were also taken to the hospital for evaluation, and David’s brother was deemed “too malnourished to leave behind,” the report said. A doctor told police David’s brother appeared to be emaciated.
Investigators noted a number of injuries to David Almond’s body when he was pronounced dead at the hospital. David Almond, the report said, appeared to weigh about 80 pounds and had bruises on both of hands and feet, his left ankle, and both knees, as well as cuts to both ears and an “open scrape” on his right shoulder blade.
Then around 3:20 p.m. on Oct. 21, the report said, hospital staff informed police that David Almond and his surviving brother had both tested positive for having fentanyl in their systems when they arrived at the medical facility.
The state Department of Children and Families took custody of all the surviving children in the residence, and John Almond told police in an interview that he and his girlfriend and mother “were all using heroin/fentanyl in the home,” the report said.
Police executed a search warrant at the residence and found hundreds of “blue glassine baggies containing suspected heroin and/or fentanyl residue,” the report said.
Coleman was also interviewed by police and refused to hand over her cellphone when officers told her they were going to seize the device, since she indicated she sometimes shared it with John Almond, who had admitted to buying heroin.
“I’m not gonna let him get in trouble,” Coleman said before she allegedly started smashing the phone against the table.
Police physically restrained her, the report said, and she pushed a detective backward into an aluminum shelf, causing him “minor back pain and discomfort.” She was also charged with assault and battery on a police officer, officials said.
John Almond and Coleman were initially charged in October in Fall River District Court with neglecting Michael Almond. Not guilty pleas were entered on their behalf. The indictment now moves the case to Fall River Superior Court, the statement said. An arraignment date hasn’t been set.