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Providence man sentenced to serve 20 years at the ACI for felony assault

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced yesterday in Kent County Superior Court to serve 20 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after committing a violent assault in 2017 that left a Warwick man in a coma.

Michael Decosta (age 23), was found guilty on February 27, 2020 by a Kent County Superior Court jury on one count of felony assault and battery.

At yesterday's hearing before Superior Court Justice Daniel Procaccini, Decosta was sentenced to serve 20 years at the ACI, the statutory maximum. The court ordered that Decosta complete substance and anger management counseling and issued a no contact order between Decosta and the victim.

"The defendant's violent assault here was completely unjustified and caused significant, life-altering injury to his victim," said Attorney General Neronha. "Yesterday's long sentence reflects the seriousness of the defendant's inexcusable conduct and the threat he poses to public safety, and is entirely well-deserved."

During trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that on the evening of December 3, 2017, Decosta violently punched a man while outside of a party at a house on Lincoln Avenue in Warwick.

Immediately after the unprovoked attack, Decosta fled the scene and actively hid from police with the assistance of his mother.

The victim of the attack was rushed to the hospital, where it was determined that he suffered critical injuries to his brain and head.

Decosta was arrested days later and subsequently released on bail. While out on bail, Decosta committed multiple felonies including first-degree robbery, larceny, and escaped from home confinement only to later be captured through the joint efforts of the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Violent Fugitive Task Forces. He faces pending felony charges stemming from his actions while out on bail.

After undergoing a series of surgeries to save his life, the victim of the attack was placed in a medically induced coma to reduce swelling around his brain. He has since recovered from his life-threatening injuries but faces ongoing cognitive impairments.

Lieutenant Andrew Sullivan of the Warwick Police Department led the investigation into the case. Special Assistant Attorney General Arthur DeFelice prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

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