Three men all pled nolo contendere on February 12, 2020 in Providence County Superior Court in connection to a Providence home invasion and hostage incident that took place in March 2019.
Jose Rodriguez (age 33), of Warwick pled to burglary, using a firearm during a crime of violence, possession of pistol without a license, conspiracy to commit burglary, and possession of three pistols after being convicted of a crime of violence. Providence County Superior Court Associate Justice Kristin E. Rodgers declared Rodriguez a habitual offender. In total, he received a 60-year full sentence with 50 years to serve at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI), 20 of which cannot be paroled, and a 30-year suspended sentence.
Pedro Gomez (age 29), of Cranston pled to burglary, using a firearm during a crime of violence, possession of pistol without a license, conspiracy to commit burglary, and possession of three pistols after being convicted of a crime of violence. Justice Rodgers sentenced Gomez to a 50-year full sentence with 30 years to serve at the ACI and 20 years suspended.
Andre Savage (24), of Providence pled to burglary, using a firearm during a crime of violence, conspiracy to commit burglary, and possession three pistols after being convicted of a crime of violence. Justice Rodgers sentenced Savage to a 40-year full sentence with 25 years to serve at the ACI and 15 years suspended.
"These defendants are precisely the kind of individuals who deserve, and who are receiving, our most focused law enforcement efforts," said Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. "They, and others like them, drive violent crime in our state. The long sentences imposed yesterday are entirely warranted, and Rhode Islanders are safer as a result."
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on March 19, 2019 at around 1:00 a.m., the three masked defendants forcefully invaded a second-floor family home in Providence with the intent to rob the occupants. All defendants possessed a firearm, (Sig Sauer P-320 9mm, Springfield Armory XD .45 caliber, and a Smith & Wesson MP40).
The defendants pushed the door in and encountered Domingo Bonilla, one of four occupants inside at the time. They pushed Bonilla to the ground, struck him in the head with a firearm, and threatened to shoot if he didn't keep his head down. The defendants then demanded to know where the drugs were, to which Bonilla responded that there were no drugs in the home.
No drugs were ever located in the home and investigators believed the defendants targeted the wrong home.
The defendants brought Bonilla to a bedroom and put him face down on the bed. They then struck a female victim, Maria Castro, in the head with a firearm and forced her to the ground. Bonilla and Castro's grandson had hidden in a bedroom for safety.
Bonilla and Castro's son managed to escape the house by jumping out of a window and immediately contacted the Providence Police Department for help. Police arrived while all three defendants were still inside the second-floor home. They surrounded the apartment building and evacuated neighboring houses.
After several hours of negotiations with Sergeant Michael Wheeler, the defendants allowed Castro and her grandson to exit the apartment. Subsequently, police entered and located all three defendants inside, as well as Bonilla. Prior to police entering, the defendants hid their firearms in a closet, wrapped in a sheet. Providence Police recovered all three firearms.
Lieutenant Dennis O'Brien, Detective Charles Matracia, and Detective Robert Dumkuski of the Providence Police Department led the investigation into the case. The negotiator who convinced the suspects to let police enter was Sergeant Wheeler. Assistant Attorney General Joseph McBurney and Special Assistant Attorney General Katelyn Revens prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.