Courts deny bail a third time for suspect in Bradford stabbing death

Courts deny bail a third time for suspect in Bradford stabbing death

WAKEFIELD — A 50-year-old Bradford man charged with murder in the January stabbing death of a Niantic resident has been denied bail a third time under provisions of the state’s right to bail laws.

Nelson Dearce, of 65 Bowling Lane, was denied bail during a status conference Wednesday at Fourth Division District Court. During the hearing, court documents indicate that Dearce filed an admission to Article 1, Section 9 under Rhode Island law, which allows bail to be denied in instances where the offense is punishable by life in prison, such as first-degree murder.

Dearce has remained in custody at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston since being charged with murder following the Jan. 27 incident. Dearce is accused of stabbing 50-year-old Jeremy Lehmann multiple times with a knife, causing fatal wounds.

He has not entered a plea, court records show. The case was referred for review by a Rhode Island grand jury on Jan. 29.

Westerly police took Dearce into custody shortly after a reported 11 p.m. confrontation between Dearce and Lehmann that took place when Dearce arrived home to find Lehmann visiting with his family. Police said Lehmann, who was found in the home after an emergency call, was stabbed multiple times. Dearce also suffered lacerations to his hands, police said, and was treated at Westerly Hospital before being taken into custody. 

Police have declined further comment on the nature of the dispute between Dearce and Lehmann.

The hearing Wednesday marked the third time that Dearce has been denied bail since his arrest. Dearce was initially denied bail on Jan. 29 during an arraignment hearing before Associate Judge Stephen Isherwood in Fourth Division District Court. He was assigned a public defender, but was again denied bail in separate hearings on Feb. 7 and Feb. 14.


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