Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Jovani Torres (DOB: 4/24/81), with a last known address of 292 Potters Avenue, Providence, today pleaded guilty before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause for the June 2, 2012 murder of Ivan Tavares.
In accordance with the plea agreement, Torres was sentenced to life on the count of murder, 20 non-parolable years, to run consecutive, on the count of discharge of a firearm resulting in injury, and 10 years, to run concurrent, on the count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The defendant was in violation of a previous drug conviction and was sentenced to serve an additional 13 years, to run concurrent.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at approximately 6:30 p.m. on June 2, 2012, Jovani Torres shot and killed Ivan Torres at a business located at 559 Cranston Street, Providence. It is believed that an earlier disagreement between the defendant and the victim was the cause for Torres to confront Tavares that evening.
As caught on video surveillance, the victim and the defendant were engaged in a heated argument when Tavares punched Torres. Immediately, Torres pulled a 9 mm firearm from his waist and discharged five rounds from the weapon, striking the victim twice. The medical examiner later determined that the fatal shot severed the victim's aorta.
At the time of the shooting, there were several people in close proximity, including the young son of the victim and other small children.
"Jovani Torres went to confront Ivan Tavares armed with an illegal, loaded 9 mm firearm. His disregard for life is exemplified by this brazen shooting within feet of innocent bystanders and small children. This case unfortunately highlights the ease in which convicted felons can illegally obtain firearms that result in violence in our neighborhoods. Our police and prosecutors need the right tools to go after individuals who aid in the distribution and sale of illegal firearms and stiffer sentences for those who commit gun crimes," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
Torres fled Rhode Island after the shooting. He was tracked down in late September by the US Marshalls in Lake Mary, FL. He was extradited to Rhode Island, arraigned and has been held without bail on the murder charge and as a probation violator.
Providence Police Detective Daniel O'Connell led the investigation. Special Assistant Attorneys General Michael J. McCarthy and Roger Demers prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.