Somerset Convicted Felon and Fugitive From Justice Back in Custody

Bristol County District Attorney’s Office
Thomas M. Quinn III
District Attorney

Press Release
October 22, 2018

A 32-year-old Somerset convicted felon who violated his probation on multiple occasions and has eluded law enforcement for the past seven months was arrested two weeks ago in Connecticut, and is now being detained without bail as a probation violation matter moves forward and new criminal charges have been lodged against him, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

After a three-day trial in Fall River Superior Court in June 2012, James Coyle was convicted for illegally possessing a sawed off shotgun, operating a motor vehicle to endanger, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and leaving the scene of property damage. The underlying facts of the case were that he pulled the shotgun on his mother and step-father, then drove over their lawn and was later pulled over by police for speeding. When he was arrested, police found the illegal shotgun in his vehicle.  The defendant also kicked out a window of a police cruiser during his arrest.

The defendant was sentenced to a four to six year state prison term, to be followed by five years of supervised probation.  After being released from prison in 2017, the defendant began violating the terms of his probation by missing appointments with his probation officer, and testing positive for alcohol, amphetamines and THC.  The Probation Department lost all contact with Mr. Coyle in March 2018 and initiated probation surrender proceedings against him.   

On March 25, 2018,  Somerset Police responded to a call from a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver, who told police the defendant refused to pay for a pizza and threw the pizza box at him.  When police went to the location on Chace Street, the defendant had fled and could not be located.

On the next day, Somerset Police again responded to the same Chace Street address  based on a call from a concerned neighbor stating that the defendant was screaming at his grandmother in the front yard. During the dispute, the defendant entered a large Ford commercial pickup truck and proceeded to back into the other two vehicles in the yard. He then allegedly pulled forward and intentionally backed into the vehicles again. A Hyundai Elantra sustained extensive damage and was pushed up against the garage door. A Ford pickup truck sustained moderate damage to the front bumper. The damage to the commercial truck was unknown at that time as the defendant once again fled the scene and could not be located.

After months of investigation to attempt to locate the defendant and bring him back into custody, Massachusetts State Police Troopers assigned to the district attorney’s office were able to locate him in Connecticut.  With the assistance of Connecticut state and local police, the defendant was arrested early this month on the outstanding warrants from Massachusetts.

He was brought into court in Connecticut where a previously imposed $500,000 bond was reduced to $100,000 ($10,000 cash).   The defendant posted the bail that same day at which point he was ordered to immediately surrender himself to Massachusetts authorities.  However, the defendant did not turn himself in to Massachusetts authorities until another week had passed.

The defendant was ordered  held without bail in Fall River Superior Court by Judge Mark Hallal, and in addition to his probation surrender proceedings, he is now officially facing charges related to the two separate March incidents in March.  Those charges, which are currently in the Fall River District Court, are assault, threat to commit a crime, leaving the scene of property damage, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, malicious damage to a motor vehicle, disturbing the peace and vandalizing property.

“I am very pleased Judge Hallal held this defendant without bail on his probation violation cases.  It is unfortunate that despite our efforts to track him down and bring him back into custody, he was released by the Connecticut courts.  This was astounding to me given his past criminal record,” District Attorney Quinn said.  “Despite being ordered to report to the Fall River Justice Center immediately, he did not do so for another week.  This case demonstrates that I am putting additional resources into tracking down fugitives who abscond and refuse to come to court.”


Gregg Miliote

Director of Communications