New details emerged Monday about an ongoing death investigation in Millbury, Massachusetts, including the contents of a text message sent by the victim in which they expressed fear for their own safety.
The Worcester County District Attorney said Saturday that authorities responded to the Millbury Avenue home after receiving a 911 call shortly after 3 p.m. and found two men -- one who was dead and another who was injured.
According to court documents, the 911 call was made by Kevin Donnellan -- now charged in connection with the case -- reporting the death of another man and requesting a police response to the home.
As detailed in the court documents, Donnellan told police he would be outside on the back stairs waiting for them and continued to speak with police dispatch until officers arrived. A dispatcher asked Donnellan if the victim had fallen or hurt themselves, to which he responded no. Donnellan then said that the victim had last been seen alive about six hours earlier and that his neck was slashed, court documents show.
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Donnellan also confirmed that he and the victim had been fighting and said the victim was downstairs. He further advised that he was also injured and bleeding because he had stabbed himself in an attempt to kill himself. When questioned, he said the knife was downstairs on a bed.
When they arrived, police took Donnellan into custody and brought him to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester for treatment of his injuries.
Officers searched the home and found the victim dead in the basement with obvious trauma to his neck, along with red-brown stains on his body and in more than one area of the home, according to court documents. A search warrant was later issued and evidence was collected from the scene. Investigators said they obtained a text message from the victim to a third party in which the victim expressed "fear for their safety" and concern that Donnellan would kill them.
Donnellan, 34, of Auburn, was initially charged with aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon but was arraigned Monday on a charge of assault with intent to murder. He was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.
Prosecutors have identified the victim Monday as Ryan Anderson. They said Donnellan and Anderson were in a relationship.
Jeremy Johnson knows the couple and had just seen them the day before the killing. He said they had been together about six months and showed no signs of any problems.
"Kinda shocking, honestly," he said. "They seemed happy together. I never noticed any tension between them."
Millbury police said over the weekend that this was an isolated incident and that there was no danger to the public, but people living in the area were on edge Sunday.
"It’s very, very scary,” said Betty Elliott, who lives just feet away from the Millbury Avenue home where police found the man dead Saturday afternoon.
“The ambulances came and the cops came and they were there almost all night. I didn’t even sleep all night long and I locked all my doors,” she added. "It was really bad.”
Officials haven't shared any details about the homeowners, but Elliott said, “There was quite a family with kids and everything.”
“That’s so sad, that’s so bad," she added.