2018 Dartmouth Murder Trial Begins

Press Release

December 1, 2022

The murder trial of 52-year-old Robert Rose, a former New Bedford resident, began this morning in Fall River Superior Court.

Mr. Rose is charged with shooting and killing 37-year-old Joseph Tavares on December 22, 2018 outside the Regency Hotel on Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth.

During opening statements this morning, Deputy District Attorney William McCauley told the jury the defendant approached the victim’s vehicle for a planned meeting with him.  Within minutes of getting into the passenger seat of the victim’s vehicle, the defendant is accused of firing three shots, striking the victim in the head and the neck.  After exiting the vehicle, the defendant is accused of shooting the victim again in the left cheek.  The two men knew each other through drug dealing, with the defendant frequently purchasing from the victim.

At around 10:34 p.m. on December 22, Dartmouth Police received a 911 call from the night manager at the hotel. The night manager reported to police that a man was bleeding heavily inside a car in the hotel’s rear parking lot.

When first responders arrived minutes later, they found the victim sitting unresponsive in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Mr. Tavares, who resided in Fall River, was suffering from apparent gunshot wounds and was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, where he was pronounced dead at 11:07 pm.

Deputy Assistant District Attorney McCauley went on to tell the jury this morning that the motive for the killing was robbery and that during the next two weeks he will be presenting forensic, digital and surveillance evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Among that evidence is a coat belonging to the defendant which had a firearm inside its pocket that matches the murder weapon and the shell casings discovered at the scene.

The Commonwealth also plans to call as witnesses in the case two other individuals who were scheduled to meet with the victim in the same parking lots on the night of the slaying, the mother of the defendant’s child and others.

The trial should continue well into next week before testimony is concluded.

All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the information presented to the court this morning are only allegations at this time. 


Gregg Miliote

Director of Communications