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State v. Roldan

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

February 12, 2016

State
v.
Luis Roldan.

Providence County Superior Court (P2/14-732AG) Associate Justice Robert D. Krause

ATTORNEYS ON APPEAL:

For State: Christopher R. Bush Department of Attorney General

For Defendant: Lara E. Montecalvo Office of the Public Defender

Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

OPINION

Maureen McKenna Goldberg Associate Justice

The defendant, Luis Roldan, was convicted of felony assault with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, and carrying a handgun without a license. On appeal, he contends that the trial justice erred in denying his motion for a new trial. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of conviction.

Facts and Travel

The genesis for the crimes of which defendant stands convicted was a love-triangle feud that involved face-to-face and Facebook confrontations and threats. According to the testimony of Luis Enrique Guzman Rosa (Guzman), [1] he dated Genesis Febriel (Febriel) for about eight to twelve months in 2010. Sometime after their relationship ended, Guzman received a call from defendant, Febriel's new boyfriend.[2] During the call, defendant warned Guzman to stop bothering Febriel. In approximately December 2012, the men encountered each other when defendant approached Guzman in a store. After identifying himself, defendant told Guzman: "You know I have my gun up there. And the next time I see you[, ] you're going to die." The defendant also told Guzman that, "if [he] was a man, * * * [the two] should find some guns and go to the park and shoot each other."

After this confrontation, defendant repeated his desire to kill Guzman to Guzman's current girlfriend and a friend. The tension escalated when Guzman and defendant took their feud to Facebook, where the two exchanged several messages. At trial, Guzman depicted defendant as the aggressor in these messages: "I would ask him to leave me alone, that I was not looking for trouble. And he said no, that whenever he would see me he was going to kill me." However, the messages were admitted at defendant's trial and reveal that both defendant and Guzman addressed one another menacingly. On February 22, 2013, in response to threats from defendant to Guzman's girlfriend and his friend, Guzman initiated the Facebook messaging by writing to defendant: "Listen kid when you have something to tell me say it to me[.] That I am a real man and I am trying to find out where you live since you threatened to kill me[.] I won't leave it like that." The defendant wrote back:

"We're going to run into each other on Broad Street and you will see[.] Lucky that I didn't kill you last night rat[.[3] I would have gone there and you would have been dead for sure but I didn't go so you look bad * * *. [B]ut when I see you[, ] you can say bye bye. [Y]our nightmare kid[.]"

Guzman responded:

"I was ready for you * * *[. Y]ou are all talk[.] I went there to see if you ...

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