Dubey’s Killer Allegedly Panicked, Shot

FacebookHe followed a target into the “rich white kids’” house. He had a gun; he figured he’d “jook” the kid. He was startled to find six people inside—and shot one of them in the chest.

That picture emerged Wednesday of how, and why, a 19-year-old New Haven felon allegedly shot a popular local cycling, vegan, and underground music enthusiast to death in a botched Newhallville robbery last year.

The picture emerged from an arrest warrant affidavit publicly released Wednesday. The warrant was for the arrest of 19-year-old Tashaun Fair. It describes the police version of Fair’s alleged murder of 23-year-old Mitchell Dubey on March 24, 2011. Police identified Fair as a suspect early on the case. But it took 17 months—and a final break this past weekend—to compile enough evidence to obtain a warrant. Police arrested Fair Tuesday evening and charged him with felony murder, home invasion, robbery, carrying a pistol without a permit, and first-degree reckless endangerment. Fair appeared Wednesday in court, where his case as continued. He remains incarcerated; the judge set his bond at $3 million.

Fair didn’t speak in court Wednesday. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, he denied committing the murder. His mom backed up his alibi.

Paul Bass PhotoWednesday afternoon, Dubey’s former roomates and his coworkers and friends from Devil’s Gear Bike Shop joined top cops at a police department press conference about the arrest. Devil’s Gear owner Matt Feiner spoke on behalf of Dubey’s parents, who live in California. (Click on the play arrow at the top of his story to watch some of his remarks.) Feiner thanked the cops, including lead Detective Wayne Bullock, as well as the assembled friends.

“Today a little bit of justice for Mitchell, a little bit of peace for everybody.” Feiner said, choking back tears. Afterwards, the 16 assembled friends hugged (pictured) and met privately with police officials.

Speaking by phone from California, Dubey’s mother, Randi Dubey, expressed appreciation for the arrest—but not a sense of closure or relief.

“It doesn’t mean anything to me except that it’s one less scumbag” on the street, she said between tears. “I’m glad for anyone else [who might have otherwise encountered the suspect.]. In a way I was hoping they would find him not alive, so they wouldn’t have to waste money [on the case]. Hopefully he will get what he deserves.”

From the start, police made it clear that Dubey was a wholly innocent victim in the case, that the killer had come to the house to commit a robbery, then fatally fired at Dubey’s chest after Dubey pleaded, “Dude, just put down the gun.”

The arrest warrant affidavit released Wednesday fills in some of the alleged narrative blanks. It’s based on interviews police did with multiple people whom they eventually convinced, after repeated tracking down and requests, to come forward with information.

Dubey was at his blue Bassett Street shared living space with his roommates and some out-of-town guests at 10 p.m. that Thursday, March 24, 2011. They were seated in the dining room.

Fair allegedly said he went to the house to “jook” (or rob) the occupants. He said he knew that “rich white kids” lived there, according to the affidavit. He would “often times [see] them out in front.” The house is on a low-income, foreclosure-battered stretch of the Newhallville neighborhood, a predominantly black neighborhood.

Fair allegedly saw a “fat white male” walk into the house. So he then “walked up and knocked on the front door.”

Dubey (who was skinny) answered it. Fair allegedly told him “back up.” Fair “had not expected there to be six people in the house.”

“When he walked in, he got scared because there were more people in the house than he thought,” according to the affidavit.

Fair, who had a mask on his face, allegedly told Dubey to “back up” and sit on the couch. Dubey “began to walk towards him, so he shot him,” the affidavit alleges. “Then [he] ran out of the house.”

Fair told police a different story when they interviewed him at the station on July 24, 2011.

“On the night of the homicide,” he told the cops, according to the affidavit, “he was in his bedroom, playing video games when his mother ... walked in his room and asked him if he heard any gunshots. They both looked out the window and saw the police in the area.”

The police then visited Fair’s mother. She told them “that she came home from work at around 8:00 p.m. [the night of the homicide] and Tashaun was home. At the time of the homicide, she said that Tashaun came into her room and asked her what was going on,” not exactly what her son allegedly told police.

Fair’s mother showed up in state Superior Court Wednesday for Fair’s appearance before Judge Bruce Thompson. The mother did not wish to speak with reporters.

Fair’s aunt, community activist Barbara Fair, was in court too.

“Right now we’re just devastated,” Barbara Fair said after the brief proceedings. “He’s charged, not convicted. We’re going to be here to support him. He’s a really, really great kid.”

Judge Thompson set Tashaun Fair’s bond at $3 million Wednesday and transferred the case to the Church Street courthouse, where Fair is scheduled to appear again on Sept. 18.

Fair (second from left in above picture) showed up in court wearing a Champion sweatshirt, camouflage shorts, and shackled Nike sneakers. He did not speak during his brief appearance.

Both his public defender, Shep Sherwood, and the prosecutor, Joseph LaMotta, suggested to the judge that he keep the bail at $3 million.

At the time of his arrest Tuesday, Fair was out on probation stemming from a 2011 felony robbery conviction. He also has a third-degree criminal trespass case pending. New Haven Detective Sgt. Otoniel Reyes (at center in above photo, at Wednesday’s press conference), head of the Major Crimes Unit, caught up with Fair and arrested him on Winchester Avenue at around 7 p.m. Tuesday. Reyes oversaw the work of the lead detective, Bullock (at right in photo; Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova is at left). They worked alongside retired New Haven cop Robert Lawlor, who’s now an inspector with the state’s attorney’s office.

Assistant Police Chief Archie Generoso praised the team for keeping with the case for 17 months.

“This isn’t CSI New York or CSI Miami. This is real life. We’re going to be sure we’re going to arrest the right person” before making an arrest, Generoso said after Wednesday’s press conference. That moment came when the cops “caught a break” in the investigation this past weekend, he said.

Dubey’s murder shocked the city and provoked grief—and prompted supportive gatherings and musical fundraisers for his family—across the country.

Dubey was a beloved fixture in New Haven’s active bicycling scene, a friendly face and dependable staffer at the Devil’s Gear Bike Shop. He also played in the Flaming Tsunamis and other bands. He and his roommates hosted house concerts in their Bassett Street home. Pictured below is a poster quoting some of his life philosophy; it was displayed at the police press conference.

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posted by: streever on August 28, 2012  10:32pm

Thank you, NHPD, for not giving up on this. Thank you.

Mitchell Dubey was a wonderful and kind man. I only hope that there is a peaceful rest for him.

I hope that his killer understands that the choice he made led to a world with one less light in it, for nothing. For nothing at all—that he inflicted pain and hurt for no reason at all. I hope that he understands and seeks absolution of some sort.

posted by: mohovs on August 29, 2012  10:48am

If the police knew who did it, then why did it take over a year to get a warrant for the arrest? Great job none the less!

posted by: elmcityresident on August 29, 2012  11:28am

if this is the bike shop that use to be on chapel street, this gentleman help me when my car got it in front of his store, he stayed with me until the cops came and he actually called the cops for me. GOD BLESS HIM! an ANGEL

posted by: Ex-NHPD on August 30, 2012  4:26pm

I continue to be perplexed about the NHI’s Policy of NOT naming suspects arrested for crimes.  Or why they do identify a suspect in some articles.

In an NHI article posted at 1257PM on the same day as this article, the arraignment was covered, without naming the suspect.  However, as the NHI often does, it sprinkled enough clues in the article so the identity can easily be determined, without actually printing the name.

Just over three hours later, this article was posted. This article named the suspect.

What happened in that time period to now name the suspect?

Will the NHI ever join accepted journalistic standards that identify people arrested for crimes, along with the word “Alleged”?

[Editor’s Note: We didn’t use his name until we got the suspect’s side of the story. We got that from the arrest warrant affidavit. Once we got the affidavit, we felt comfortable using the name. You’re right—we don’t “join accepted journalistic standards,” on the policy of naming suspects or on a host of other matters on which we consider “accepted journalistic standards” unacceptable. Even if we stumble ourselves in trying to craft alternatives.]

posted by: mohovs on August 30, 2012  5:46pm

Where can we obtain a copy of the arrest warrant affidavit?

posted by: Ex-NHPD on August 30, 2012  6:20pm


I’m sorry.  I’m still confused. 

Your explanation means anyone who is arrested can be named, once the warrant and or report is released, even if they denied the accusation.

Your claim that you got his side of the story from the warrant is exactly what will be challenged in court.  He did not make a (the) statement describing the murder/attempted robbery to the Police. The details of the robbery gone bad were (allegedly) made by Fair to someone else, who then went to the Police.  He denied doing the crime to the Police, and offered an alibi.

Are you stating that Fair talked to the NHI about the incident?

Again, what about the Journalistic Integrity in not naming him in the first article, but leaving enough clues/details so that many people reading the article would be able to identify him?

Finally-were his Nike sneakers shackled or were his legs shackled?

[Editor: Legs. Thanks. Our point was that we were able to report that Fair denies the accusations against him, based on what he directly told the police, and based on what his mother directly told the police. The point for us is if someone’s accused of a crime, before we name the person, we’d like to include whether that person says he/she did it or not. So that can be in the same article, searchable on the web. Like if someone accuses a politician of doing something wrong, we want the politician’s side, too.]

posted by: shovelhead1230 on August 31, 2012  6:40am

Very proud of Detective Bullock for a job very well done!!!!All his hours of hard work did pay off!

posted by: HhE on September 2, 2012  11:47pm

I did not have the honor of knowing Mitchell Dubey, but everything I know of him tells me we lost a really good person.

As a parent, I can only imagine what his family has gone through, and will continue to.  I am truly sorry.

I think the NHPD must also have felt great frustration that it took so long to solve this case.  I thank them for their work.