Crime, Local News, News, Providence, Top Video

Police sought ‘evidence of great value’ from murdered former doctor’s safety deposit box

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police seized the contents of former doctor Clive Bridgham’s safety deposit box including jewelry and other documents while investigating his murder, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by Eyewitness News.

The affidavit, requesting a warrant to search and seize items from Bridgham’s TD Bank safety deposit box, says a detective “believes evidence of great value relating to the horrific homicide of Clive Bridgham may be contained within said TD Bank Safe Deposit Box #1” located a Barrington bank branch.

The warrant was granted, and police seized the contents in the box, which were listed as $7200 cash, assorted antique jewelry, Dr. Bridgham’s will, dated 8/6/2002, and assorted documents.

It’s unclear of what value the items are to the investigation. Police have not released a motive for the alleged murder, for which 21-year-old Owen Morris is charged.

Morris, a former patient of Bridgham’s who also filed a complaint against him with the state Department of Health, was arrested on Jan. 22. Bridgham was found dead in his Pleasant Street home on Jan. 11. Police said he was stabbed multiple times.

Police discovered the existence of the safety deposit box during their search of Bridgham’s home, according to the new affidavit. “Detectives found a red envelope labeled with “TD Bank”…on one side and “#1″ written on the other side. Contained inside the small envelope were 2 silver colored keys,” the document says.

The request to search the box, including the statement that the items could be of “great value” to the investigation was made on Jan. 31, after Morris was charged with the murder.

Morris’ attorneys are slated to hold a status conference in Superior Court on Tuesday to determine his next court date. Morris has not yet entered a plea, and his case is pending indictment.

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Crime, Local News, News, Providence, Top Video

Man accused of killing local doctor had filed Department of Health complaint against him

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warren man charged in the killing of former Barrington chiropractor Clive Bridgham had recently filed a complaint against him, according to East Providence Police.

Owen Morris, 21, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, accused of stabbing Bridgham numerous times at his Pleasant Street home. Police disclosed at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that Morris had been one of Bridgham’s patients.

The complaint filed with the Department of Health based on a 2016 incident led Bridgham to agree to surrender his chiropractic license in September 2017. Paperwork from the Department of Health says a patient accused him of “violating the professional boundaries of the chiropractic physician-patient relationship.” The surrender was accepted on Nov. 1.

Two months later, on Jan. 11, police got a call from Bridgham’s significant other, reporting that she had not heard from him. Police went to check on him and forced entry into his Pleasant Street home, police said. They found he had been stabbed “multiple times.”

“It was particularly brutal,” Parella said. He described it as “an attack with an edged weapon,” but declined to say what the weapon was or if police have recovered it. Parella said the alleged murder was premeditated.

One day after the murder, investigators sought records surrounding the surrender of Bridgham’s chiropractic license, according to a search warrant obtained by Eyewitness News.

In the warrant’s affidavit, a detective explains he needs records from the Department of Health related to complaints made about Bridgham, including names, “so as to assist in the investigation of the death of Bridgham.”

Twelve days after the homicide, police arrested Morris on a warrant Monday and charged him with murder. Morris was arraigned in Providence District Court Tuesday morning and ordered to be held without bail. His defense attorney, Jason Knight, declined to comment on the charge.

Bridgham’s license was also put on probation in 2003 after he was accused of having a sexual encounter with a patient, according to a consent order. Police declined to say if any other complaints were discovered, but said they are investigating.

“Everything we looked at was a contributing factor in making this arrest,” Parella said.

In a police report from 1999, a neighbor accused Bridgham of being a “pedophile,” claiming he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy whom the neighbor had sent to mow Bridgham’s lawn. The neighbor told police the boy’s family had declined to pursue charges.

Around the same time Bridgham was relinquishing his medical license, Morris withdrew from the University of Rhode Island. The economics major was on the Dean’s List and lacrosse team, according to spokesperson Dave Lavalee, but took a leave of absence in the spring of 2017. He eventually withdrew from the university in September.

Clive Bridgham was found murdered in his East Providence home on Jan. 11, 2018. (WPRI file photo)

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Crime, Local News, News, Providence, Top Video

Police: Suspect in deadly hit-and-run claimed he thought he hit a dog

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The suspect in a deadly Monday night hit-and-run on Newport Avenue claimed he thought he hit a dog when he struck a 46-year-old woman before leaving the scene of the crash, according to East Providence police.

Paul Newman, 53, of Jacksonville, Florida, was charged Tuesday morning with leaving the scene of an accident with death resulting.

Police said the victim, Maria Raposo of Coyle Avenue, was walking home Monday night shortly before 8 p.m after buying a couple items at a nearby pharmacy when she was hit by a red SUV.

“The Buick swerved to to the 2nd travel lane … and hit the female crossing the street,” an eyewitness said in a statement to police.

The car took off, according to police, and the witness and her husband followed.

“[T]he Buick was traveling at a high rate of the speed,” the witness said. “I was on the phone with 911 while we were following him. When the truck slowed down I was able to get the plate and give it to the operator.”

“Without that plate … it absolutely would’ve delayed the investigation,” East Providence Police Capt. Christopher Francesconi said in an interview with Eyewitness News.

Police tracked the car to an airport car-rental facility in Warwick, and discovered Newman had already returned it.

“It had clearly been washed, and also parts had been removed from that vehicle,” police inspector Craig Sroka told the judge at Newman’s arraignment Tuesday. Police said Newman told the rental place that he had hit something and needed a replacement car.

Police contacted Newman, who told police he thought he had hit a dog.

“It’s difficult to understand that someone could mistake a person for a dog,” Francesconi added.

Police said Raposo was not in a crosswalk when she was hit on Newport Avenue, which has two lanes of travel in each direction.

An Eyewitness News reporter noticed two streetlights were in darkness in the area where Raposo was struck Monday night. According to Department of Public Works director Steve Coutu, the unlit street lights are part of a program initiated several years ago to save money in the city. Certain “excess streetlights” were turned off, but some have since been turned back on, he said.

Coutu said city officials often turn streetlights back on after complaints from residents, and would consider doing so on Newport Avenue, particularly if police determine poor lighting contributed to the crash. Francesconi said that was part of the investigation.

Francesconi also said drugs and alcohol did not appear to be factors in the crash.

Newman posted $5,000 of his $50,000 surety bail Tuesday and was released. He’s due back in court in November.

His attorney Lawrence Signore said Newman is a native of East Providence and was in town from Florida to visit family and attend a wedding.

“He’s upset, he has remorse, and he’s concerned about the family of the woman that was struck and passed,” Signore said.

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Local News, News, Providence, Top Video

Councilman wants to lure PawSox to East Providence waterfront

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A city councilman is pitching an idea to bring the Pawtucket Red Sox to East Providence.

Democrat councilman Joseph Botelho, who represents Ward 3, is proposing the team build a new stadium on vacant land off of Veterans Memorial Parkway on the water. The swath of land adjacent to the East Bay Bike Path is owned by G&W Railroad, a company out of Connecticut, and features a view of the Providence skyline.

“Can you imagine sitting in a ballpark watching that sun fade over the right field wall while you’re watching the beautiful baseball game?” Botelho said in an interview with Eyewitness News. “That’s something money can’t buy.”

Botelho’s proposal would have to jump a lot of hurdles; he has not contacted the PawSox about the idea because he wants to get the property owners on board first. Mark Hastings, an executive with G&W Railroad, told Eyewitness News on Friday night the company is looking at all possibilities for what to do with the land, and is not committed to any one idea yet.

The PawSox struck a deal with the city of Pawtucket earlier this year to build a new ballpark downtown, but stopped pledging monogamy to the city after July 1, the deadline by which the team’s owners wanted state financing to come through. With State House leaders currently focused on a budget standoff, it’s unlikely the $23 million in state funding would come this year. (The city of Pawtucket pledged to contribute $15 million and the team’s owners would contribute $45 million.)

With the plan in limbo, other cities like Worcester have reportedly been in talks with the PawSox to host the new stadium.

Councilman Botelho’s proposal would presumably face the same roadblock in the General Assembly as the Pawtucket plan if the pitch requires state financing, but Botelho said he’d like to find a way to structure a deal without any cash from the state. He believes the waterfront location would be worth more to the team.

“I think if they look at our location and the incentives we would offer them, it would be a wash. We wouldn’t have to offer them any cash,” he said.

A spokesperson for the PawSox did not immediately have a comment on the proposal.

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Crime, Local News, News, Providence, Top Video

East Providence murder suspect held without bail after return from capture in Texas

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A judge ordered a Providence man held without bail Friday afternoon on charges he fatally stabbed an East Providence man last month.

James Stevens, 29, of Pine Street in Providence, was arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder. He was arrested in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 28 after more than two weeks on the run. Friday’s arraignment was the first time he’d faced a judge in Rhode Island since authorities brought him back.

Stevens is accused of stabbing 24-year-old Jasper Williams on Dec. 10 and then fleeing the state. Williams died five days later. His mother, Alecia Williams, lives in North Carolina but has been in Rhode Island for more than a month, waiting to see her son’s alleged killer in person.

“It’s part of my healing process,” Williams said in an interview with Eyewitness News. “It’s a step further towards forgiveness.” She and her family openly wept when Stevens was brought into the courtroom.

According to an affidavit attached to Stevens’ arrest warrant, he and Jasper Williams argued over the phone before the alleged stabbing. The document says Stevens showed up at the home of Williams’ girlfriend, with whom he was living, and stabbed Williams multiple times in the torso, head and leg.

Alecia Williams says Stevens is in a relationship with Jasper Williams’ ex-girlfriend, but it’s unclear if that had anything to do with the argument.

Williams was found guilty in 2014 of stabbing two brothers in East Providence and had been released from the ACI less than two weeks before he was stabbed.

Alecia Williams said she forgives her son’s accused killer, and hopes he feels remorse and repentance.

“If I don’t practice [forgiveness], I have hatred. I have malice, I have revenge, I have rage,” Williams said. “If I have those types of characteristics in my heart, that means…I’m allowing James Stevens to control my life.”

Jasper Williams was a graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, worked at a sporting goods store, and had a 4-year-old son named Jasper Williams IV.

His mother says his last act was to donate his organs to four men and one woman who needed them.

“Even though he’s gone, he’s still living in five other people,” Williams said. “He’s still here.”

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Local News, News, Providence, Top Video

Demolition of East Shore Expressway begins; detours in place

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A number of detours are now in place in East Providence as construction crews replace one of the bridges on the East Shore Expressway.

Starting Friday night, Exit 7 off I-195 East and a section of Warren Avenue were closed to traffic.

The “functionally obsolete” bridge will be completely replaced over the next four days, allowing trucks to finally travel over it.

In the above video, Eyewitness News Reporter Steph Machado takes a tour of the detours in place.

Warren Avenue Closure Westbound Detour:

  • Right on Warren Avenue/County Street Eastbound, toward Route 114A
  • Left on Waterman Avenue
  • Left on Pawtucket Avenue
  • Right on Warren Avenue

Warren Avenue Closure Eastbound Detour:

  • Left on Pawtucket Avenue
  • Right on Waterman Avenue
  • Right on Warren Avenue
  • Left on Route 6 Eastbound

East Shore Expressway Southbound Closure Detour:

  • Take Exit 6 off of I-195 Eastbound
  • Left on Warren Avenue
  • Right on Pawtucket Avenue
  • Left on Wampanoag Trail
  • Right onto Route 114 Southbound toward Wampanoag Trail

Four days of detours will be a small price to pay for drivers compared to one year of traffic that would’ve resulted from a traditional bridge replacement, according to RIDOT Director Peter Alviti.

Instead of closing one lane at a time, RIDOT will close the whole expressway, demolishing and replacing it within approximately 80 hours.

“So while the 80-hour period is a temporary inconvenience, the solution we’re putting in here is a permanent one,” Alviti said.

Crews built the new expressway bridge in a vacant lot right next to the old one. It’s an accelerated technique that Alviti hopes to use for more of the 250 bridges slated to be fixed under Gov. Gina Raimondo’s RhodeWorks plan.

See progress of the East Shore Expressway construction project on RIDOT’s website.

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Connecticut, Crime, East Bay, Local News, Massachusetts, News, Providence

Men nabbed in East Providence chase now charged in string of break-ins

[anvplayer video=”1045378″ /] PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police departments in three states are investigating whether a pair of Connecticut men arrested in East Providence were responsible for house breaks in their jurisdictions.

Lyle Solsbury and Maurice Youmans were taken into custody following a police pursuit through East Providence Wednesday afternoon. They’ve since been charged with a string of break-ins in three communities.

Solsbury, 40, of Naugatuck, Connecticut., and Youmans, 38, of Waterbury, Connecticut were wanted in connection with a break-in on Church Street, according to city police. The homeowner was alerted by an app on his phone that the motion detector at his house was breached and he called police.

“He was able to see a picture of a male in his driveway going up his stairs and eventually within his house,” East Providence Deputy Chief William Nebus said.

Police say the man in the photo was Solsbury, and Youmans was waiting in the getaway car. The suspects took off in a black SUV, leading police on a chase until a detective was able to pull the men over on North Broadway.

Police had to use a stun gun to subdue one of the suspects, but officials said no one was hurt during the ordeal.

Surveillance photo from the Church Street break-in
Surveillance photo from the Church Street break-in

Solsbury and Youmans were arraigned in court Thursday on charges of breaking and entering, conspiracy, and two counts of receiving stolen goods. The stolen goods included jewelry from the Church Street home and stolen Massachusetts registration plates, which were used to cover up the car’s Connecticut registration, according to the criminal complaint obtained by Eyewitness News.

Since their arrest, numerous police departments in three states have come forward saying they’re investigating whether the two men broke into homes in their jurisdictions, and police in both Cranston and Foster have now brought charges.

Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist said both men are charged in connection with a break-in Wednesday on Narragansett Boulevard.

Winquist said he was contacted by East Providence police after items and paperwork found in the suspect vehicle appeared to have been stolen from that home. Officers went to the home to find the rear door had been pried open. The homeowners later identified the evidence as their property.

Foster police have also charged the pair with breaking and entering. Both men were arraigned on the charges from all three municipalities on Thursday afternoon and were given $60,000 bail with surety.

Police say the public’s help was crucial in capturing the suspects, particularly the homeowner’s surveillance camera, which gave police an hours-long head start.

“Without that app, we wouldn’t have had these individuals,” Deputy Chief Nebus said. “We would have had to piece back the last four hours of their whereabouts.”

Police say a Barrington man also helped, by reporting a suspicious vehicle in that town and taking photos of the license plates. The tip helped police track down the vehicle.

Barrington Police Chief John LaCross asked any residents who witnessed similar suspicious activity or have items missing from their homes to contact their local police department immediately.

“Although nothing was taken during the Barrington investigation, I applaud the homeowner for his quick actions to capture the plate number and vehicle on his cell phone,” the chief said.

Police in Newtown, Connecticut and Sturbridge, Mass. are also investigating the two suspects, along with Rhode Island and Connecticut State Police.

Newtown Police Sgt. Baha Monde said Solsbury was released on bail just last week from charges he broke in to a home there. The burglary was caught on the homeowner’s surveillance camera, and police were about to identify Solsbury by releasing the video the public.

Newtown Police are now investigating whether Youmans and Solsbury could be involved in four other break-ins that occurred there in July.

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Local News, News, Providence

Police chase ends in arrest of breaking-and-entering suspects

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two men accused of breaking into an East Providence home were arrested following a police chase through the city Wednesday afternoon, and police are now investigating whether they are responsible for a string of break-ins.

According to Lt. Tom Rush, the pursuit began after the report of a house break on Church Street around 12:30 p.m. The homeowner spotted the suspects on a home surveillance camera using a mobile app and called the police.

The chase briefly came to a end when the suspects went into Providence, but Lt. Rush said for some reason the suspects came back into East Providence, where a detective spotted the SUV on the Henderson Bridge, trying to mount the curb to jump ahead of the traffic.

The detective stopped the car at gunpoint. Police said the vehicle had two license plates attached to the front, with a stolen Massachusetts plate covering up its real Connecticut plate.

One of the suspects was transported to the hospital because a stun gun was used on him, but police said he was not injured. The other was handcuffed and taken into custody.

Police have not yet released the suspects’ identities, but said they will face charges of eluding the police and breaking and entering.

Police are also investigating whether the men could be responsible for about ten other break-ins in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

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