Fall River Manslaughter Conviction

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

Press Release
February 8, 2022

A 19-year-old Fall River man who stabbed his cousin to death three years ago pleaded guilty to Manslaughter and other criminal offenses last week in Fall River Superior Court, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.  The defendant, Michael Holloway, was sentenced to serve 10 to 12-and-a-half years in state prison.

On February 13, 2019, officers from the Fall River Police Department were dispatched to 96 Fountain Street for the report of a stabbing.  When officers arrived on scene, they discovered William Wheeler, Jr., 17, suffering from a superficial stab wound to his nose and a serious stab wound to his stomach.  Officers immediately rushed Mr. Wheeler to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Investigators determined that on the afternoon of February 13, 2019, the defendant and the victim committed an armed robbery on their friend.  During this robbery, Mr. Holloway stole a backpack and clothing from the robbery victim at knifepoint. The robbery victim told investigators the defendant had a large knife with a “spear” like blade.  The robbery was set up by Mr. Wheeler under the guise that he was going to meet the robbery victim to smoke marijuana.  After the robbery, the defendant, Mr. Wheeler and two other cousins returned to an apartment at 96 Fountain Street, where they were all staying.  While at the apartment, the defendant got into an argument with a neighbor and punched him in the face.

In the meantime, the robbery victim had complained to his father about being robbed by Mr. Holloway and Mr. Wheeler.  The robbery victim’s father confronted Mr. Wheeler’s stepfather about the robbery.  At that time, Mr. Wheeler’s stepfather called Mr. Wheeler and instructed him to return the backpack to the robbery victim. The step father also expressed anger that Mr. Wheeler would rob a friend, especially while on probation. 

At some point during the evening, Mr. Wheeler and the defendant got into a fight over a pillow and blanket.  During this argument, the defendant stabbed Mr. Wheeler in the nose.  Mr. Wheeler went into the bathroom to clean up his nose and called his mother and girlfriend.  During the phone call to his mother, it was decided that Mr. Wheeler would leave and return to his mother’s apartment.  Mr. Wheeler was reminded to bring the stolen backpack with him when he left 96 Fountain Street. When Mr. Wheeler exited the bathroom, he attempted to leave with the backpack.  This started another fight with the defendant, who then stabbed Mr. Wheeler in the stomach.  After the stabbing, the defendant attempted to clean up some of the blood before he fled.  The defendant was ultimately arrested the day after the stabbing at a relative’s house in Rhode Island. 

In addition to the charge of manslaughter, the defendant also pled guilty to indictments charging him with assault and battery, and armed robbery.  Judge Raffi Yessayan, in addition to the state prison term, also sentenced the defendant to an additional five years of supervised probation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jason Mohan.

“This was a terrible tragedy involving two cousins who has a close relationship. The spontaneous act of violence that resulted in the victim’s death highlights the poor decision making of a teenage boy.  I hope the families of both boys can find some solace in the fair resolution of this case,” District Attorney Quinn said.


Gregg Miliote

Director of Communications