State: Lauren S. Zurier, Department of Attorney General.
Defendant: Jodi M. Gladstone, Esq.
Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia,
P. Robinson III, Justice
defendant, Donald Greenslit, appeals from a judgment of
conviction rendered after a jury trial held in the Providence
County Superior Court on
the following counts: Count One, the first-degree murder of
Stacie Dorego, in violation of G.L. 1956 § §
11-23-1, 11-23-2, and G.L. 1956 § 12-29-5; Count Two,
the failure to report the death of Stacie Dorego with the
intention of concealing a crime, in violation of G.L. 1956
§ 23-4-7(f); Count Three, the obstruction of a
firefighter while in the execution of his duty, in violation
of G.L. 1956 § 11-32-1; and Count Four, the violation of
a no-contact order, in violation of § § 12-29-4 and
12-29-5. On appeal to this Court, the defendant contends that
the trial justice erred in denying his motion for a new
reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of
the Superior Court.
March 29, 2012, a Providence County grand jury indicted
defendant on the above-referenced charges of which he was
eventually convicted. A jury trial was held over two weeks in
March of 2013. We summarize below the salient aspects of that
Testimony of Jami Ouellette
Ouellette, the sister of the murder victim, Stacie Dorego,
testified that, in 2012, Ms. Dorego lived at 16 Pershing Road
in Johnston. Ms. Ouellette further testified that she spoke
to defendant when he telephoned her a few weeks before Ms.
Dorego's death. She stated that, at the time of that
phone call, it had been " rare" for him to call
her; she said that he did so approximately once every four
months. She testified that defendant told her that he was
concerned about his children and that he was unable to enter
the home where they resided because of a restraining order.
She stated that it was " very difficult to
understand" defendant in the course of that phone call;
she added that defendant was " kind of going on and on,
repeating himself." She further stated that she offered
to call the Department of Children, Youth, and Families
(DCYF), but that defendant told her not to do so. Ms.
Ouellette testified that defendant said that he could not
contact DCYF, in spite of her suggestion that he do so. It
was her further testimony that defendant told her " not
to worry because [his] mom had money and was able to take
care of the kids * * * and the kids would be fine."
Testimony of Francis O'Brien
O'Brien, a friend of defendant, testified that, on the
morning of January 22, 2012, defendant left him a "
vague" message, indicating that he had the " best
news in the world" for him and that he needed his help.
Mr. O'Brien testified that he went to 16 Pershing Road,
where defendant was at that time, and he observed that
defendant was " very happy." He also stated that
defendant told him that Ms. Dorego had " taken off with
a boyfriend to an island * * *." He further stated that
defendant discussed with him the possibility of his moving to
the house at 16 Pershing Road.
Testimony of Chiara Scarcella
Scarcella testified that she lived at 14 Pershing Road--i.e.,
next door to 16 Pershing Road. It was her testimony that it
was not uncommon for defendant to come to her house and
" ask to use things." She testified that, on
January 22, 2012, defendant came to her house several times
during the day.
Scarcella testified that, upon returning home from doing an
errand on the evening of January 22, she smelled smoke and
saw that the kitchen of 16 Pershing Road was filled with
smoke. She stated that she went into the 16 Pershing Road
house because she knew that children were inside and she
wanted them to get out. She stated that, once she was in the
house, defendant told her that he was burning wood because
the children were cold and that he had " everything
under control." It was her testimony that
defendant's demeanor was " odd" and "
nervous" during their conversation; she added that he
seemed " [a]ngry that [she] was in the house."
Scarcella stated that she then left the 16 Pershing Road
house and her cousin called the Fire Department. She
testified that, when the police officers and firefighters
arrived, defendant was " very mad" and said: "
'Why did you call the cops?'" She noted that he
looked " panicked" and was pacing. She said that
defendant told the firefighters that there were no children
in the house, although she knew that two children were there.
She stated that, when defendant was speaking to the
firefighters about the children not being in the house, they
were attempting to enter; she testified that defendant was
blocking them with his body by standing in the middle of the
doorway. She further testified that his blocking activity as
he stood in the doorway prevented a ...