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Brothers admit to roles in North Providence murder

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two brothers pleaded guilty Wednesday to their roles in a North Providence home invasion that resulted in a man being shot to death.

Viclei and Victor Hernandez admitted that in 2014 they plotted to rob Richard Catalano at his home on Eliot Avenue. They were 18 and 20 years old at the time.

Viclei, now 21, and Victor, 23, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Victor was sentenced to serve 40 years of a 60-year sentence at the ACI with the rest suspended with probation, while Viclei is scheduled to learn his fate in July.

Prosecutors said Viclei drove the car to Catalano’s home to commit the robbery while Victor brought the gun.

Police allege a third suspect, Dari Garcia, was the only one to actually enter the home. He’s accused of fatally shooting Catalano, while also shooting and biting of the finger of his mother, Lorie. She survived the attack.

In court, a prosecutor read aloud a statement from Lorie Catalano.

“I love my son and miss him every minute of every day. All of our holidays will never be the same. I have no reason to celebrate anything anymore,” she said. “Ricky wasn’t a violent person. He did not like guns. He would not have hurt a fly.”

The victim’s family said Lorie has had dozens of surgeries and still has permanent damage to her voice box.

Garcia is slated to go on trial for first-degree murder in the fall.

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Crime, Local News, News, Northwest, Top Video

3 arrested in shootings of North Providence father, son

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NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — North Providence police say with the help of surveillance video and witness statements they have arrested three suspects in connection with a double shooting that left a father dead and his son critically injured.

Hernan Avila Jr., 46, and his son, Hernan Avila III, 23, were shot outside a convenience store on Humbert Street Sunday night. The older Avila died from his injuries.

Ernest Keosouphanh and Brandyn Pavao were both charged with first degree murder and ordered held without bail following their arraignments Tuesday afternoon. Bail was set at $20,000 for Davante Neves, accused of conspiring to assault the younger Avila.

Police say Keosouphanh was the sole gunman.

The homicide victim’s wife Georgette Avila cried out in court as Keosouphanh was arraigned.

“You murderer,” she said. “You killed a husband and father.”

During Tuesday’s arraignments, Detective William Shurick revealed Avila III was shot eight times from his neck to his hamstring. The family says he underwent two surgeries and is expected to survived.

The elder Avila took one fatal shot to the torso.

Georgette Avila, who was at the scene, said her son was buying juice when a group of people including Pavao approached him asking where to buy marijuana. When he said he didn’t know, an argument ensued.

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Police say Pavao is also charged with murder because he started the argument with Avila and then called Keosouphanh to the scene.

Georgette Avila told police she overhead that alleged phone call.

“I got that punk [expletive] Hernan here,” Detective Shurick repeated in court, quoting Pavao.

Keosouphanh allegedly arrived on the scene in a car with other people and opened fire on both Avila men.

Police said the younger Avila was the target of the shooting, and his father stood in front of gunfire, blocking his son.

It was his final act.

“My father died a hero,” said Avila’s daughter Tatianna Silvestre. “He’s just a great man…he’s going to be very missed.”

“He always taught me to never give up,” said another of Avila’s daughters, Amanda Avila. “Never be weak.”

Amanda Avila shook the hands of each police officer at a news conference announcing the arrests, thanking them for quick action.

Police say they recovered the handgun used in the shootings with the help of the State Police Dive Team. It was found in a body of water in North Providence, though police wouldn’t specify which.

Police said Keosouphanh was out on bail on a sawed-off shotgun possession charge when he allegedly shot the Avilas with yet another gun.

“Unfortunately, that speaks volumes about the system itself and the flaws that are within it,” Acting Police Chief Chris Pelagio said. “It’s frustrating.”

The younger Hernan Avila, known by family and friends as Jay, works in the fast food industry and recently enlisted in the National Guard, his family said.

The elder Hernan Avila worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Briarcliffe Manor Nursing Home.

Ernest Keosouphanh, 19, is charged with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Felony assault with attempt to commit murder (two Counts)
  • Conspiracy to commit murder
  • Conspiracy to commit felony assault with the intent to commit murder
  • Conspiracy to commit felony assault
  • Possession of an altered firearm (9mm handgun)

Brandyn Pavao, 23, is charged with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Felony assault with intent to commit murder
  • Conspiracy to commit murder (two counts)

Davante Neves, 18, is charged with:

  • Conspiracy to commit felony assault

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Crime, Local News, News, Northwest, Top Video

Wife: Dad took bullets for son in North Providence shooting

[anvplayer video=”962146″ /] NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Georgette Avila is looking for answers after she says she watched her husband jump in front of gunfire aimed at her son Sunday night.

Police are searching for possible suspects after the father and son duo were shot in a convenience store parking lot on Humbert Street in North Providence Sunday night.

Police say the father, 46-year-old Hernan Avila, died of his injuries. The son, 23-year-old Hernan Avila, is in critical condition.

“My husband jumped in front of my son and took the bullets for him,” Georgette Avila told Eyewitness News. She said she witnessed the shooting.

Avila said her son was out buying juice when a group of people approached him asking where to buy marijuana, but he didn’t know.

“He was upset,” Avila explained. She says it turned into an argument.

“He said ‘I was just asking you man,’ and it escalated,” Avila said.

That’s when another car full of people arrived on the scene, she explained.

Hernan Avila Sr. (family photo)
Hernan Avila Sr. (family photo)

“Four guys jumped out of the car and started shooting my son,” she said tearfully. Avila isn’t sure if just one person had a gun or multiple people.

North Providence Acting Police Chief Chris Pelagio says the number of gunmen is still under investigation.

“We are following up all the leads that we have available to us at this point to make sure justice is served,” Chief Pelagio said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Pelagio said police are investigating if and how the suspects and victims know each other, and are leaning towards a targeted attack. He said the public is not in danger. He said the motive of the shooting is still under investigation.

Mrs. Avila said her son recognized at least one of the people from high school.

“My son right now is still fighting for his life,” she said.

The younger Hernan Avila, known by family and friends as Jay, works in the fast food industry and recently enlisted in the National Guard, his family said.

Hernan Avila III
Hernan Avila III (Family Photo)

His sister Tatianna Silvestre says she ran to the convenience store as soon as she heard about the shooting Sunday night.

“By the time I got here, my brother was laying over there, his blood going down the street,” she told Eyewitness News in the parking lot where the shooting happened. “My father was sitting up, I thought he was ok…I didn’t even know he was shot.”

The elder Hernan Avila later succumbed to his injuries. His family says he worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Briarcliffe Manor Nursing Home.

“My father, he’s taken care of me since I was three months old,” Silvestre said. She explained that Avila is not her biological father, but she called him “Dad,” and he raised her. “It’s very hard for me.”

Police have not named any suspects in the shooting nor have they released any descriptions of the suspects or their cars. Anyone with information is urged to call North Providence Police.

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