A 34-year-old Middleboro man with an extensive criminal record in multiple states who violated the terms of his probation at least six times was sentenced yesterday in Fall River Superior Court to serve eight to 14 years in state prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

William Monopoli, who was wanted for violating the terms of his probation connected to serious cases out of Plymouth County and the state of Montana, was tracked down and apprehended in late February in Smithfield, Rhode Island by members of the Massachusetts State Police Unit assigned to District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III’s office

Although the defendant was not wanted for any crimes in Bristol County, this office became involved in this matter because his probation supervision had been transferred to Bristol County.

In February, our office became aware of the fact that the defendant cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet during a high-speed chase with Lakeville Police on the evening of February 21. The defendant had been wanted at the time for violating the terms of his probation from a conviction for armed and masked robbery in Plymouth County by missing drug and alcohol screens, violation of GPS curfew and new motor vehicle offense. Our office also learned that a 32-year-old Middleboro woman with connections to this defendant had recently been reported missing by her family.

Massachusetts State Police Troopers assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney's office immediately began investigating the matter in an effort to locate the defendant and the woman. During the investigation, it was learned that the defendant and the woman had taken an Uber to the Riverview Inn & Suites in Somerset. State Troopers and members of the Somerset Police Department traveled to the hotel and learned the defendant and the missing woman had checked out on February 24. Investigators then developed information that the missing woman had recently used her phone in the Smithfield, RI area.

With the assistance of Smithfield Police, investigators were able to track the defendant and the missing woman to the Holiday Inn in Smithfield on February 26 and apprehend him without incident. The missing woman was also found with the defendant and was picked up by her mother.

The defendant, who has a lengthy history of arrests and convictions in Massachusetts and beyond, also goes by the alias William Burnham-Shurtleff.

During a Probation Surrender Hearing held yesterday before Judge Renee Dupuis, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Wiley argued that given the defendant’s extensive history of convictions, his numerous probation violations and his numerous attempts to elude justice, the defendant should be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

In the case, the defendant was currently on probation for, the defendant entered Ron’s Citgo on Wareham Street in Middleborough at approximately 8:30 pm on January 13, 2003. The victim, who was a clerk at the store, stated that a male party came into the station behind him and placed his hand around his neck, demanding money. The suspect fled in a red motor vehicle with no license plate. He was described as wearing a plastic black mask with goggles and a black sweatshirt, with bright blue eyes. A bystander, who observed the robbery, stated that he actually saw the assailant hold a knife to the clerk’s throat.

Shortly thereafter, the police observed what they believed to be the suspect vehicle, and began a pursuit. The vehicle failed to stop upon being alerted by the police. In fact, the operator, identified later as the defendant, turned off the vehicle’s headlights and drove at a high rate of speed away from the police for approximately a mile. While setting up a perimeter to locate the vehicle, police received a call for a report of a stolen motor vehicle. Police responded to an area, not far from the robbery, and are met by the defendant, who appeared immediately to have bright blue eyes. The defendant claimed that his vehicle had been stolen from the area. When other units arrived, the defendant was placed under arrest. He proceeded to yell and scream, and kick at the cruiser door, damaging the door. The defendant was positively identified by the independent witness, as well as the vehicle. The knife and the mask were also recovered and identified by the witness.

In addition to violating the terms of his probation at least six times, the defendant also committed numerous new criminal offenses in multiple states and counties of Massachusetts during the past 16 years. At some point in early February 2005, the defendant traveled to Virginia, where he committed a Grand Auto Larceny. He then fled Virginia back to Massachusetts, and on February 26, 2005, Middleborough Police observed a black Chevrolet Cavalier. When the license plate was checked, the plate came back as stolen out of Virginia. The police attempted to stop the vehicle, but it immediately passed several vehicles and drove into oncoming traffic, causing multiple vehicles to have to swerve off the road to avoid being struck. The officer pursued the vehicle at speeds up to 110 miles per hour before losing the vehicle. The defendant was subsequently identified as the driver after another pursuit on March 4, 2005, which led to the arrest of the defendant.

In August 2005, after defaulting on his pending criminal cases, the defendant fled to Florida. Florida Sherriff’s deputies, knowing the defendant to be potentially armed with a firearm and a flight risk, followed him to a gas station to attempt to detain him. When approached by the deputy, the defendant resisted arrest, ultimately biting the deputy and injuring him, and required the assistance of a civilian to detain the defendant until backup arrived. Once in custody in the cruiser, the defendant began to bang his head against the cage in the cruiser. He was subsequently charged with multiple crimes out of Florida.

After being returned to Massachusetts and pleading guilty in the Plymouth Superior Court in 2007 and completing the committed portion of his sentence, the defendant began probation. On November 25, 2008, he was also placed on probation out of Stafford County, Virginia, for the Grand Auto Larceny, where he received a 10 year suspended sentence, with 6 months to serve and the balance was suspended indefinitely.

On April 10, 2011, Massachusetts State Police was dispatched to the scene of a crash on Route 2 in Concord. The operator of one of the vehicles was subsequently identified as the defendant. Witnesses reported that the defendant ran through a red light while driving erratically. The defendant’s vehicle, which left behind extensive skid marks, crashed into at least six other vehicles causing damage to each one. A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest.

Then, On May 6, 2011, Boston Police observed the defendant operating a motor vehicle, which proceeded through a “No Turn on Red” light. At the time the defendant’s license was suspended and there was an active warrant for his arrest. The police attempted to effectuate a motor vehicle stop by activating the lights and sirens, and the defendant, through heavy traffic, proceeded to flee from the police. The defendant sped onto I-93 southbound, often traveling in the breakdown lane to evade police. Eventually, given the speed and location, state police troopers took over the pursuit. A state police trooper coming home from a detail overheard the transmissions and observed the defendant’s vehicle traveling up to 60 miles per hour, cutting in and out of traffic during a highly congested time. The vehicle at points exceeded 80 miles per hour, causing the trooper to lose sight of the vehicle.

During the pursuit, the defendant’s vehicle struck a Toyota pickup and continued to aggressively change lanes. The trooper again gained sight of the vehicle after being advised by numerous other radio transmissions of multiple marked and unmarked police vehicles on the route of travel. The defendant headed onto Route 24 southbound, at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Attempts at using stop-sticks failed, and at one point, the defendant nearly struck a Trooper that was standing outside of his vehicle trying to deploy the stop sticks. The trooper was able to get in front of the defendant’s vehicle at some point when the defendant attempted to ram the cruiser from behind.

The defendant then abruptly took an exit and ultimately crashed at the top of the ramp. The defendant abandoned the vehicle and began climbing over a chain link fence. A K-9 was deployed, but the defendant ran on. The trooper was ultimately able to cut him off in his vehicle and pursued the defendant on foot where he was taken into custody at gunpoint and by the assistance of the K-9. In total, the defendant led police on a 28-mile, 30-minute pursuit; hitting speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. The Defendant served 2 ½ years in the house of correction on this case.

On June 24, 2014, Massachusetts State Police received information of a hit and run crash on I-93 northbound. A red pickup truck was observed fleeing the area. A short time later, a red GMC Sierra was found abandoned with fresh damage. One of the victims of the two-car hit-and-run positively identified the defendant as the operator of the vehicle who caused the crash.

In addition to committing offenses in Massachusetts and Virginia, the defendant also traveled to Montana, where he committed another armed robbery. On August 17, 2014, police were dispatched to a Safeway Store in Montana. The suspect entered the store with a pistol and demanded “Percocet 30s” from the pharmacist. The clerk hesitated because she was confused, and the suspect said, “you have ten seconds before I shoot” as he pointed the pistol at the victim. The victim turned over 4 bottles of the smallest dosage she could find. A vehicle description was obtained, surveillance videos were pulled, and ultimately police are able to identify the suspect at Wal-Mart purchasing an air-soft pistol, a box of surgical masks, and spray paint. On September 5, 2014, Montana authorities obtained information that the defendant was in Westborough, Massachusetts where he was arrested on the Montana warrant, as well as several Massachusetts warrants.

"This case highlights the need for the court to seriously consider probation decisions. This is a violent career criminal who presents a significant danger to the public. It took years to bring this defendant to justice," District Attorney Quinn said. "This defendant was given every opportunity to reform his behavior and address his issues. Unfortunately, he did not take advantage of the assistance offered to him and continued his violent behavior in Massachusetts and other states. The risk of this defendant being out on the street is a significant one. A lengthy state prison sentence was warranted in order to protect the public."

Information from the Bristol County District Attorney's Office


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