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Matthew Fortin Pleads Nolo Contendere in Double Fatal Boating Crash

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today announced that Matthew Fortin, DOB: 1/28/83, with a last known address of 105 Collette Street, New Bedford, MA, pleaded nolo contendere before Superior Court Justice Melanie Thunburg in the May 16, 2010 boating accident that killed Alesia Desa (DOB: 8/5/86) and Kaylee Therrien (DOB: 3/10/87).

For all counts, Fortin was sentenced to 15 years, with six to serve (three at the ACI, three on home confinement) with the remainder suspended with probation.

Fortin pleaded nolo to boating while intoxicated (BWI) death resulting (Desa, Therrien) for which he was sentenced to five years, three to serve with the remainder suspended with probation. He pleaded nolo to reckless boating, death resulting (Desa, Therrien) for which he received 10 years, three to serve in home confinement with the remainder suspended with probation, to run consecutive.

On the charge of BWI serious bodily injury (Mayer) and reckless boating serious bodily injury (Mayer), Fortin was sentenced to five years suspended, five years probation for each, to run concurrent.

“The mixture of boating under the influence and unfamiliarity of the bay were a deadly combination,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “What started as a joy ride with friends on Narragansett Bay, quickly turned into a nightmare and tragedy. With the summer boating season in full swing, and the tens of thousands of people recreating on our waterways, people should remember this case and the terrible loss of life that is caused by drinking and boating.”

On May 15, 2010, Joel Mayer (7/4/85) and Matthew Fortin, mechanics for a company that leased boats, made plans to take out one of the boats out for a ride.

Around 10:00 p.m. that evening, Mayer, Fortin, Janet Bernardo (DOB: 9/27/85), Alesia Desa and Kaylee Therrien met at Pirate’s Cove Marina in Portsmouth and decided to take a boat ride to Brewer’s Marina in Greenwich Cove, East Greenwich. The boat was a 22-foot Sea Ray named Miss Jess.

Returning to Portsmouth around 1:00 a.m., with Fortin driving, the boat crashed into Despair Island, located on the tip of Hope Island in Narragansett Bay. Desa and Therrien were ejected from the boat on to the rocks and killed. Mayer suffered serious injuries in the crash. Fortin and Bernardo were also injured.

A distress call was received by the Coast Guard at approximately 1:42 a.m. As they were not familiar with the bay, neither Fortin nor Bernardo were unable to give an exact location of the crash. At 2:43 a.m., the Warwick Fire rescue boat located the wreckage on Despair Island.

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