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Rhode Island man sentenced to life in prison after killing man during confrontation at traffic stop



PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Rhode Island man was sentenced to life in prison in Providence County Superior Court after being found guilty of murdering Joel Rosario during a roadside confrontation in Pawtucket in 2020.

On November 29, 2021, following the conclusion of an 11-day trial before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, a jury found 23-year-old Jairo Esdel Galva of Central Falls guilty of second-degree murder, discharge of a firearm when committing a crime of violence resulting in death, discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle, and carrying a pistol without a license.

At a hearing on June 6, 2022, before Judge Krause, the Court sentenced Esdel Galva to consecutive life sentences for second-degree murder and discharge of a firearm resulting in death. The Court also sentenced the defendant to concurrent 10-year sentences for discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle and carrying a pistol without a license that will be served consecutive to the life sentences.

“Urban violence is far too often driven by a toxic mix of readily available illegal firearms and those who are all too eager to use them to settle senseless disputes,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Together with our law enforcement partners, we are targeting those who illegally provide firearms to criminals and the criminals who use such firearms to threaten and inflict harm on Rhode Island residents. Nothing will bring Mr. Rosario back to his family, but it is my hope that the long sentence imposed by the court will bring them a measure of closure and conviction that justice has been achieved. I am grateful to the Pawtucket Police Department for their outstanding work throughout this investigation and prosecution.”

Neronha stated that during the trial, the State presented evidence that the defendant did not act in self-defense on the evening of October 31, 2020, when he shot and killed Joel Rosario following a roadside confrontation at the intersection of Lonsdale Avenue and Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket.

That evening, Rosario celebrated his 22nd birthday with a group of friends and family at a home in Central Falls. Subsequently, Rosario and several friends drove toward Providence to attend another party. While Rosario and his friends traveled on Lonsdale Avenue in multiple vehicles, Esdel Galva followed closely behind them in his Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Witnesses at trial testified that Esdel Galva flashed his Jeep’s high beams several times while he drove behind the group.

When the vehicles reached the intersection of Lonsdale Avenue and Mineral Spring Avenue, Rosario exited one of the vehicles and walked to the front passenger side window of Esdel Galva’s vehicle to confront him. At that time, the defendant rolled down his window and fired a single shot into Rosario’s chest with a .38 caliber revolver. Moments later, Esdel Galva drove his Jeep through the intersection.

Friends rushed Rosario to Miriam Hospital where he was ultimately pronounced dead.

On November 4, 2020, the defendant turned himself in to Pawtucket Police.

“This was a tragic event where the removal of illegal guns and the de-escalation of a dispute may have made a difference,” said Acting Public Safety Director Chief Tina Goncalves. “The Pawtucket Police Department is happy to be a partner of the Attorney General’s office on these illegal firearms investigations as we all work to keep our community safe.”

Assistant Attorney General John Perrotta and Special Assistant Attorney General Gregory Moore of the Office of the Attorney General led the prosecution of the case and Detectives Andrew Torres and Justin Gould of the Pawtucket Police Department led the investigation.

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