Sergio Garcia (age 19) and Helton Rodrigues (age 20) of Central Falls pleaded nolo contendere today in Kent County Superior Court for their role in a November 2018 Pawtucket shooting.
Garcia and Rodrigues pleaded to one count each of felony assault, serious bodily injury; discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence injury resulting; conspiracy to commit felony assault; and possession of a pistol without a license. Associate Justice Kristin E. Rodgers sentenced both defendants to 33.5 years at the ACI with 13.5 to serve, the balance suspended with probation. The suspended sentence is non-parolable.
"Rhode Islanders deserve to live in safe communities, which is why prosecuting violent crime is at the core of our Office's mission," said Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. "The defendants' reckless and violent behavior in this case injured a man and it could have been much, much worse. They will serve a lengthy sentence at the ACI, and deservedly so."
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on November 3, 2018, Garcia and Rodriguez entered the West Mart Convenience Store in Pawtucket and encountered Justice Reyes. Reyes was wearing a sweatshirt depicting a photograph of his friend Robert "Robby" Baptista, who was murdered in 2016.
Before exiting the store and walking down the street, Garcia and Rodrigues exchanged words with Reyes, suggesting he would "end up like Robby." Moments later, while Reyes stood outside the store on his cell phone, Garcia and Rodrigues began walking back toward West Mart. As they got closer, they fired multiple rounds at Reyes. Reyes took cover inside the store but Garcia followed him inside, continuing to fire at Reyes.
Reyes was struck in the abdomen and in the hand. He has since recovered from his injuries. Garcia exited the store and he and Rodrigues fled the scene.
Detective Susan Cormier of the Pawtucket Police Department led the investigation into the case. Special Assistant Attorneys General Katelyn Revens and Edward Mullaney prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.