Fight inside Mass. courthouse as man arraigned on murder charge in woman’s apparent road rage death

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — A fight broke out on Tuesday during a court hearing for a man charged with murder in the death of 26-year-old Destini Decoff during an apparent road rage incident in Hopkinton.

Ryan Sweatt, 36, of Milford, was arraigned on the murder charge in Framingham District Court after he allegedly fatally struck Decoff near a Hopkinton pub on April 4. Sweatt was previously arraigned on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, operating to endanger, and a marked lanes violation.

Outside the courtroom Tuesday, video showed shouting and cursing between two groups of people before the brawl broke out.

It wasn’t immediately clear if charges would be filed in connection with the incident.

Dawn Anderson, Decoff’s aunt, wiped her bleeding neck as she talked about the altercation.

“She came towards me and tried to grab the top of my hair but as you can see my hair’s slicked back so that kind of didn’t work and I got her on the ground,” said Anderson. Destini will get her justice somehow, someway, but that family is sick, sick, sick, sick.”

Decoff was critically injured in the crash that occurred on Hayden Rowe Street near Cornell’s Irish Pub, police said. She died of her injuries two days later.

Her mom Tracy Decoff is devastated.

“She was beautiful inside and out she would do anything for anyone,” said Tracy.

A preliminary investigation indicated that Sweatt was driving a Honda Civic on Route 85 when he became engaged in an apparent road rage incident with another vehicle. After the two vehicles had stopped, people in the Toyota got out of the car.

Sweatt’s attorney claimed the group threatened him and he was trying to flee.

“He did not see her he did not intend to kill her,” said Derege Dimissie, defense attorney.

Investigators said his story isn’t consistent with what security footage and witnesses said happened.

Witnesses told police that instead of immediately driving away, Sweatt maneuvered his Honda through two U-Turns, and crashed right into Decoff, who was standing at the edge of the road.

At the scene, Sweatt told police people had surrounded his car, and were yelling they were trying to kill him, and he was trying to get away. Police say they recovered a knife.

“It was murder and it was intentional,” said Tracy. “If Massachusetts had the death penalty that’s what I would want.”

Sweatt is being held without bail.

In a statement, Sweatt’s attorney said the following:

“This is not a road rage case as reported by the media. This was an accident that resulted when Ryan tried to get away from the group of people who came out of their car to attack him. He did not see the person who was struck.

He stopped his car after the impacted and cooperated with the police. There is a lot more to what was reported in the news and as the facts come to light, I am confident it will become obvious this was a just a tragic accident. Ryan is a peaceful person who has always maintained a clean record with a long history of gainful employment. He was going home from work when the accident happened.”

Sweatt is expected to be back in court on May 30th.

An investigation is ongoing.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW