Two Rhode Island men recently received prison sentences for cases involving elder abuse. On February 17, 2020, Angel Fernandez, of North Providence, received a prison sentence of 11 years to serve after he previously entered a plea of nolo contendere in the Providence County Superior Court to one count of Domestic Assault of a Person Over 60 Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury. The charges stem from a 2017 incident during which the defendant attacked his longtime domestic partner in her home, causing significant and serious injury. The victim was 62 years old at the time of the assault.
Providence County Superior Court Associate Justice Joseph A. Montalbano sentenced Fernandez to a full term of 20 years at the Adult Correctional Institution (ACI); with 11 years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation. Additionally, the Court ordered the defendant to have no contact with the victim, complete a batterers' intervention program, undergo a mental health and substance abuse evaluation, and comply with any recommended treatment.
On February 18, 2020, Carlton Vose, of Pawtucket, received a prison sentence of two years to serve after a Providence County Superior Court Jury previously found him guilty of six counts of Abuse or Neglect of an Adult With Severe Impairments. Judge Montalbano presided over this matter and sentenced the defendant to a full term of five years at the ACI with two years to serve; the balance suspended with probation. The Court further ordered the defendant to have no contact with the victim (his mother), attend counseling to address his abusive behavior, and pay a fine of $1000.
"Like all crimes against older Rhode Islanders, who are some of the most vulnerable members of our community, these crimes are particularly insidious as elderly victims are often reluctant to come forward," said Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. "Sentences like these are necessary and appropriate. Victims should know they are not alone and that when they come forward, this Office, through our Elder Abuse Unit, will seek justice for them."
Had the Fernandez matter proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on December 15, 2017, in North Providence, the defendant committed an assault on his domestic partner of over 20 years. The victim suffered serious injuries as a result of multiple stab wounds and a cut to her throat, which required significant treatment.
North Providence Police responded to the crime scene after calls to 911 from a neighbor who heard the attack. Upon arriving at the victim's home, the police found the victim badly injured and bloody. The police recovered a knife covered in blood on the floor next to the defendant.
The North Providence Police Department led the investigation. Special Assistant Attorney General Molly Kapstein Cote, of the Elder Abuse Unit, prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.
During Vose's trial, the State proved beyond reasonable doubt that on six different occasions between January 29, 2015 and November 3, 2015, Pawtucket Police responded to calls involving the defendant's elderly mother who suffered from Dementia. The defendant willfully and knowingly neglected the victim by failing to render services necessary to maintain her physical and mental health.
• January 29, 2015: Pawtucket Police responded to a call from a Walgreen's Pharmacy near the victim's home. They met with the victim who was confused, lost and wearing a bathrobe and no pants during snowy weather. She could not find her way home where she lived with the defendant. • February 9, 2015: Pawtucket police found the victim near a Sam's Food Mart who, again, was confused, disoriented and needed assistance finding her way home despite being a short distance from her residence. Later that evening, a plow driver for the Pawtucket Department of Public Works encountered the victim lost and wandering in a snowstorm just outside of her home. • September 18, 2015: A neighbor reported the victim wandering in the street. She was wet and hungry as a result of the defendant spraying her with a hose when she asked him for food. • October 24, 2015: A police officer was flagged down by a concerned person near the intersection of Mendon and Benefit streets in Pawtucket, a high traffic, multi-car-lane area. The officer saw the victim wandering in the middle of the road trying to flag down cars and looking for food. Police were unsuccessful in contacting the defendant and transported the victim to the hospital for care. • November 3, 2015: After growing concerns about the victim's well-being and safety, an investigator from the Attorney General's Office, along with a Pawtucket Police captain, an investigator from the Division of Elderly Affairs and a worker from Gateway Health, traveled to the victim's home to check on her. They observed the victim wandering and confused outside her home. Inside the home, they found animal waste, garbage, several cans of dog food and no food for the victim to eat. The State removed her from her residence and from the defendant's care that day.
The Pawtucket Police Department led the investigation into the case. Special Assistant Attorney General Molly Kapstein Cote and Special Assistant Attorney General Eric Batista prosecuted the case on behalf of the Attorney General.