Brothers’ arraignment sheds new light on fight surrounding Bridgewater father’s death

Matthew and Steven Potter pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from that night.

Christopher McCallum. —Provided

New details emerged in court Wednesday surrounding the death of Christopher McCallum, a 44-year-old father of three who died after, his family says, he tried to break up a fight in Quincy earlier this year.

Matthew and Steven Potter, Quincy natives, were arraigned in Norfolk Superior Court following their arrests Tuesday on charges stemming from the incident that night.

Matthew Potter 36, of Weymouth, was charged with manslaughter in McCallum’s death, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a female victim, and assault on another male victim, according to an indictment filed in court.

Steven Potter, 34, of Boston, was charged with assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and assault on one male victim and assault on another, alleged incidents that did not include McCallum, of Bridgewater, the indictment says.

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The brothers pleaded not guilty, according to a spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office. A $20,000 bail was set for Matthew Potter. Steven Potter posted a $1,000 cash bail.

The defendants are sons of a retired Quincy police detective, according to WBZ. The department gave the case to Massachusetts State Police to investigate earlier this year because of a potential conflict of interest.

“I am so grateful for all the great people who came forward to tell the story of what happened to Chris that night, and it is because of them that we were able to obtain the indictment we long hoped for,” Kathy McCallum, McCallum’s widow, said outside the court. “My family will never be the same without such a wonderful husband, and my sons will live forever without their father because of Matthew and Steven Potter and their reckless behavior and their senseless act of violence.”

Early on Jan. 27, McCallum, also a Quincy native, was found unconscious and bleeding outside an American Legion post on Moon Island Road when police responded to reports of a “large disturbance” there.

He died from his injuries a day later at Boston Medical Center, leaving behind his wife and three sons.

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His family has said McCallum was injured when he tried to break up a fight among a group of men outside the Nickerson Post and was sucker-punched and struck his head hard as he fell.

According to the indictment, McCallum had attended a fundraiser at the venue with his twin brother, William, a member at the post.

The event ended around 11 p.m.; however, the Potter brothers remained with attendees who moved to the building’s members’ area, the indictment says.

The Potter brothers began arguing with another set of brothers at the bar before a manager “told both sets of brothers to leave and walked the defendants out of the building,” according to the court filing.

Steven Potter reentered the building, at which point the manager told him to leave and told the bartenders to close the bar, the indictment says.

“The manager, along with a few other patrons, walked Steven Potter out through a narrow hallway leading to the front entrance,” the document says. “Steven Potter was aggressive, arguing and attempting to hit the manager. The manager punched Steven Potter in defense.”

In the parking lot, another patron stayed with Steven Potter to help calm him, while Matthew Potter attempted to reenter the building and was “aggressive and swinging punches,” the indictment says.

“Another patron, S.M., emerged from the building and saw Matthew Potter, Christopher McCallum, and William McCallum rolling on the ground together at the entrance to the parking lot,” the indictment says. “S.M. separated William McCallum and held him as Christopher McCallum and Matthew Potter regained their footing.”

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According to the document, Christopher McCallum then moved closer to Matthew Potter as “S.M.” held William McCallum.

“A witness observed Christopher McCallum turn head first, body following, and fall flat on his back, consistent with being punched or assaulted,” the indictment says. “Several witnesses described hearing an audible cracking sound when Christopher’s head hit the pavement. A witness observed Matthew Potter within an arm’s length of Christopher McCallum’s unconscious body.”

Christopher McCallum was “bleeding profusely from the head and having great difficulty breathing” as witnesses tended to him and called 911, according to the filing.

Steven Potter, who authorities said is an employed EMT, had been on his way to his car but ran over to see who was on the ground, according to the indictment. He ran to the manager — who was heading to check on Christopher McCallum — after learning it was not his brother who was unconscious, the document says.

“Steven Potter punched the manager in the head, knocking him to the ground,” the indictment says. “Witnesses grabbed Steven Potter and restrained him until police arrived.”

The manager, who suffered a concussion, declined to press charges against Steven Potter, who was brought to Carney Hospital, according to the filing.

At Boston Medical Center, doctors determined Christopher McCallum had suffered “numerous skull fractures, an orbital fracture, bruising on his left bicep, abrasions on his face, severe brain trauma, and that he was unlikely to recover,” the document says.

The medical examiner found the cause of death to be blunt force trauma and ruled Christopher McCallum’s death a homicide.

According to the indictment, Matthew Potter’s cell phone and scally cap were found next to Christopher McCallum’s body although Matthew Potter had left the scene.

He was stopped by police later that night in Weymouth for allegedly speeding and told the officer he was coming from the post, the filing says.

Upon the officer asking about “a moderate odor of alcohol” coming from him and his facial injuries, Matthew Potter denied he had been drinking “and said he was injured when he slipped and fell on ice,” the indictment says. He later had surgery to repair a fracture of his left thumb, according to the document.

“In the course of the investigation, numerous witnesses described Matthew Potter’s behavior as aggressive toward both men and women and consistent with someone under the influence of some kind of substance,” the indictment says. “He grabbed the buttocks and breast of one woman, and made offensive comments to two others.”

Steven Potter returned to the post later that morning to pick up his car and told state police there that he had been hit by someone when asked by a trooper how he had received a laceration on his face, the filing says. He would not say who hit him, police said.

According to the indictment, the Potter brothers, through their attorneys, both declined to be interviewed by law enforcement.

Both men are due back in court in January.