Court of Providence County, (PM 14-461), (P2/12-1323A),
(P2/11-1362A), (P1/14-1594AG), (P2/03-3234AG), (P2/03-3184A)
Associate Justice Daniel A. Procaccini
State: Aaron L. Weisman Department of Attorney General
Defendant: Paula Lynch, Esq.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and
Gilbert V. Indeglia, Associate Justice
a probation-violation hearing in August 2014, Eric Neufville
(Neufville or defendant) was found to have violated the terms
of his probation and was sentenced to serve sixteen years in
prison. The defendant appeals the hearing justice's
sentencing determination on the probation violation and his
denial of a motion for reconsideration. This case came
before the Supreme Court on October 4, 2017, pursuant to an
order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the
issues raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided.
After hearing arguments of counsel and reviewing the
parties' memoranda, we are satisfied that cause has not
been shown. Accordingly, we shall decide the appeal at this
time without further briefing or argument. For the reasons
set forth herein, we affirm the judgment of the Superior
January 23, 2014, defendant was presented as a probation
violator pursuant to Rule 32(f) of the Superior Court Rules
of Criminal Procedure. The state alleged that Neufville
committed a robbery on December 27, 2013 while on
probation. The facts regarding the details of the
robbery are largely undisputed.
December 27, 2013, Bonnie Aguilar and her boyfriend, Nicolas
Petrucci, were robbed at gunpoint in their apartment by two
men impersonating undercover Providence police
officers.Around 10:30 p.m., Petrucci answered a
knock at the door of their apartment. After some commotion at
the door, an African-American male later identified as
defendant pointed a gun in Aguilar's face, forcibly
entered the apartment, and handcuffed Aguilar and Petrucci.
The defendant was with an accomplice, described as a white
male. Petrucci's friend, Travis Greer, accompanied the
two men to the apartment after the pair had threatened him
with criminal charges. It is uncertain whether Greer also entered
the apartment. The defendant and his accomplice ransacked the
apartment, taking $200 in cash, an engagement ring, a
two-carat diamond watch, assorted jewelry, a gift card, a
Coach purse, an iPod, an iPad, and an Xbox from the apartment
during the robbery.
probation-violation hearing, the state presented three
witnesses: Aguilar, Greer, and Det. Ronald Riley. The defense
presented one witness: Petrucci. At the hearing, Aguilar
identified defendant as the African-American man who robbed
them at gunpoint.
recalled that defendant wore a cap at the time of the
robbery. Additionally, Aguilar testified that defendant's
behavior was "insane" and that he grew angrier when
she denied having a safe in the apartment. The robbery lasted
over an hour, and the hearing justice found that Aguilar
stood in very close proximity to defendant for "a good
part of that time."
Aguilar and Petrucci testified that, initially, the couple
identified a different person as the alleged robber after
looking at Greer's Facebook page. However, Providence
police investigated further and identified defendant as
another potential suspect. Aguilar later testified that, when
Providence police asked her to look at a photo array, she
"froze" and covered the man's head as if he
wore a cap before identifying defendant as the
African-American man in her apartment on December 27, 2013.
At the hearing, Aguilar testified that she was "150
percent" sure that it was defendant who had been in her
the hearing justice found defendant to be a probation
violator, concluding that he was "reasonably satisfied
that [defendant] was the person who committed those acts * *
*." On September 2, 2014, the hearing justice removed
the suspension on the longest of defendant's sentences,
thereby sentencing him to sixteen years.
the violation hearing, defense counsel learned that the state
had failed to turn over a police statement made by Aguilar on
the day after the robbery. In that statement to police,
Aguilar described one attacker as a "white man * * *
about 6'2 with a baseball cap, like, a
Red Sox baseball cap" with a "navy blue hoodie,
navy blue jeans." Aguilar characterized the second
person as an African-American man, about five-feet-five
inches tall, with a "black hoodie" and black jeans.
When the police officer asked Aguilar if she saw the
African-American attacker's head, Aguilar responded,
"I could. He didn't have any facial hair, "
adding that he had short hair on his head. Further, Aguilar
stated, "it was dark in our house, " and she added
that they "only had the little kitchen light" on
when the attackers forced their way into the apartment.
January 21, 2016, defendant filed a motion for
reconsideration of the hearing justice's finding that
defendant violated the terms of his probation, arguing that
the hearing justice should reconsider his decision or give
defendant another probation-violation hearing in light of the
newly produced police statement. After review, the hearing
justice denied defendant's motion for reconsideration.
defendant has appealed the hearing justice's sentencing
determination on the original violation and ...