Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Russell Burrell, age 18, pleaded guilty today before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause for his role in the July 30, 2012 murders of Shemeeka Barrows, Michael Martin and Damien Colon.
Burrell, who was a juvenile at the time of the murder and was waived out of Family Court to be tried as an adult, pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, three counts of discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence and one count of conspiracy. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 28, 2014. Burrell is facing a maximum of six consecutive life sentences plus 10 years.
Burrell is the second individual charged in the homicides to plead guilty. Donovann Hall (DOB: 2/4/94), an involved participant in the conspiracy and murder, waived indictment and pleaded guilty in March 2013 to three counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery. Hall is awaiting sentencing.
Two other individuals - Quandell Husband (DOB: 6/17/96) and Timothy Debritto (DOB: 1/31/86) – were also indicted for their roles in the triple homicide and are awaiting trial. Husband is currently being held without bail. Debritto is currently serving a 50-year sentence for the May 20, 2012 shooting of Gary Ellerbe and is being held without bail on the new charges.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to call Donovann Hall as a witness to testify that on July 30, 2012, Burrell and others conspired to rob Michael Martin, who lived at 151 General Street in Providence. Later that evening, Burrell, armed with a loaded 9 mm that was given to him by Debritto, walked with Hall and Husband from an apartment on 2 Middle Drive to 151 General Street.
When Mr. Martin came to the door, Burrell pointed the gun as all three rushed into the living room, barking commands to Mr. Martin and Damien Colon, who they were not expecting to be present. Mr. Martin and Mr. Colon were herded towards the kitchen in the back of the apartment where Burrell fired the 9mm repeatedly in their direction, killing them both.
As this was happening, Shemeeka Barrows awoke from a nap on a couch in the living room. Upon realizing Ms. Barrows was in the apartment, Burrell turned the gun on her, emptying the magazine clip of its bullets, killing Ms. Barrows.
The State was also prepared to call a witness who would have stated that upon hearing gunshots, he looked in the direction of the front door of 151 General Street and saw both Burrell and Husband run from the apartment.
"Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the families of Shemeeka Barros, Michael Martin and Damien Colon," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
Assistant Attorneys General Randall White and James Baum prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General. The investigation was led by Providence Police Detective Rob Washburn, along with Detectives Fabio Zuema, Frank Vilella, Theodore Michaels, and Captain Michael Correia.