Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that today Axel Morales (age 22) pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault with a dangerous weapon domestic in the July 3, 2016 death of Cesar Alonzo and assault of Karla Estrada. In addition, he pleaded guilty to violation of a no contact order.
Under the terms of the plea, Morales was sentenced to 30 years with 25 years to serve on the count of manslaughter, 10 years suspended with probation, to run consecutive, on the count of assault with a dangerous weapon domestic, and one year to serve, to run concurrent, for violating a no contact order, for a total sentence of 40 years with 25 years to serve and the remainder suspended with probation. Morales was also ordered to have no contact with Karla Estrada and to undergo domestic violence counseling.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that at approximately 3:00 a.m. on July 3, 2016, Axel Morales, while driving a motor vehicle, struck and killed Cesar Alonzo and struck and injured Karla Estrada.
Morales and Estrada, who were previously engaged in a dating relationship, were engaged in a verbal altercation when he took her cell phone and drove away from her residence on Sears Street in Providence. Shortly thereafter, Estrada's husband, Cesar Alonzo, arrived at the residence.
Morales returned in his motor vehicle to the residence. Upon seeing Morales, Alonzo retrieved a baseball bat from his vehicle and ran after Morales' motor vehicle. Morales drove away from Alonzo down the street, stopping and then driving away each time Alonzo got close to him. This continued down the block. As Morales was nearing the coroner of Sears and Rangley Streets, Alonzo threw the bat at Morales's vehicle, shattering its back window.
Alonzo fell into the road as a result of throwing the baseball bat at the vehicle, and Estrada went to assist him.
At this time, Morales claims he saw a male at the end of the street coming towards him with a gun, however no one was ever identified as having a gun during the chaos.
Knowing that Alonzo and Estrada were still behind his vehicle in the street, Morales put the motor vehicle in reverse and drove in the direction of where Alonzo and Estrada were standing. Morales struck Alonzo with his motor vehicle, knocking Alonzo under the vehicle. Morales then drove forward with Alonzo still under the vehicle. Morales also struck Estrada, causing three breaks to her right hand and wrist.
People in the area called 911 and police and emergency personnel arrived scene. Alonzo was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be multiple injuries due to trauma by motor vehicle.
Axel Morales was arrested later that afternoon. While he was being held without bail pending trial, Morales contacted Estrada by sending letters to her children with messages for her, in violation of a no contact order.
Providence Police Detectives Stephen Sullivan and Theodore Michael led the investigation and Special Assistant Attorney General Joseph McBurney prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.