Brothers of drowned teen facing charges after alleged assault outside Dedham court

Crime

Witnesses said they heard one of the men say, “This isn’t over. We’re coming after you,” according to prosecutors.

Retired state police detective captain James Coughlin and his wife, Leslie, appear in court in 2021. Craig F. Walker/Boston Globe Staff, File

Two men are accused of attacking a retired Massachusetts State Police captain after he pleaded guilty to providing alcohol to minors at a 2021 graduation party where their relative, 17-year-old Alonzo Polk, drowned. 

  • Dedham teen pulled unresponsive from pool has died, police say

  • Dedham man attacked in front of courthouse after getting no jail time for serving alcohol at party where teen drowned, lawyer says

Roshawn Drane and Denzell Rowell were each charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for their alleged role in what officials described as “violent physical assaults” outside Dedham District Court on Monday. Rowell is also facing three counts of threatening to commit a crime.

Shortly before the alleged attack, James and Leslie Coughlin were each given a one-year suspended sentence and community service after pleading guilty to supplying alcohol during the high school graduation party. Polk was pulled unresponsive from the Coughlins’ pool during that party.

Brian Kelly, the couple’s lawyer, told The Boston Globe that James Coughlin was “brutally attacked from behind” as he left the courthouse after the hearing, an incident Kelly described as a “wild melee.”

“Mr. Coughlin is recovering from the unprovoked attack outside the courthouse. He sustained a concussion and several bruises,” Kelly told the Globe on Wednesday. “He believes the court system will handle the matter appropriately and take it from here.”

Drane and Rowell were both arraigned and pleaded not guilty Wednesday, court records show. The two men are Polk’s brothers, WHDH and NBC10 Boston reported, citing investigators and court documents. Boston.com has requested copies of the criminal complaints against both men.

Backed by family and friends, Roshawn Drane, brother of Alonzo Polk, addressed media after James and Leslie Coughlin were arraigned in 2021. – Lane Turner/The Boston Globe Staff, File

Prosecutor John Mullen told the court that individuals who were waiting for the Coughlins in a nearby car told investigators that they heard Rowell say, “This isn’t over. We’re coming after you,” according to a clip from WHDH. 

A lawyer for Rowell had no comment on the charges Thursday. Similarly, an attorney who represented Drane for his bail hearing declined to comment on the allegations but said the case is a sad one for all involved.

A judge set bail at $2,500 for each man, and Rowell also had his bail revoked in a separate case out of West Roxbury for which he had previously been released. 

Drane and Rowell are due back in court on Oct. 6.


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