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Two men sentenced to life in prison for murder of 17-year-old Nyasia Williams-Thomas

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that two Woonsocket men were sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to life in prison after pleading to the murder of 17-year-old Nyasia Williams-Thomas during a 2019 shooting in Woonsocket.

20-year-old Quinton St. Pierre entered a plea of guilty to one count of second-degree murder; one count of discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence resulting in death; two counts of discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence; two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon; one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon; and one count of carrying a pistol without a license.

At a hearing on May 11, 2022, before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, the Court sentenced the defendant to life at the Adult Correctional Institutions for the murder of Nyasia Williams-Thomas. The Court also sentenced the defendant to a consecutive 15 years at the ACI for conspiracy and carrying a pistol without a license.

20-year-old Craig Robinson entered a plea of guilty to one count of second-degree murder; two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon; one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon; and one count of carrying a pistol without a license.

At a hearing on May 5, 2022, before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, the Court sentenced the defendant to life at the ACI for the murder of Nyasia Williams-Thomas. The Court also sentenced the defendant to a consecutive 15 years at the ACI for conspiracy and carrying a pistol without a license.

“Petty disputes and illegal firearms in the hands of individuals all too willing to use them remains a toxic mix, resulting in too many senseless deaths in Rhode Island. That is precisely the scenario here, and as a result, a young woman, with her entire life ahead of her, has been lost to her family and her community,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Nothing will bring Nyasia Williams-Thomas back to her family, but it is my hope that these significant sentences will bring them a measure of justice. I am grateful to the Woonsocket Police Department for their outstanding work and partnership during the investigation and prosecution of this case.”

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that during the evening of December 4, 2019, the defendants shot and killed 17-year-old Nyasia Williams-Thomas on Village Road in Woonsocket.

Investigators determined that earlier that evening, Craig Robinson, Quinton St. Pierre, and a co-defendant Jose Ortiz Martinez, while gathered at a home on Bennett Street, made a plan to retaliate against a third-party individual who had offended Robinson in a series of text messages.

The defendants then left the home, equipped with guns and masks, in search of the third-party who they believed to be in the vicinity of Village Road. Upon reaching the area, the defendants identified a vehicle that they believed to be occupied by their target.

The defendants approached the vehicle from the rear and surprised three occupants by banging on the vehicle and opening a passenger-side door. Craig Robinson and Quinton St. Pierre fired their guns into the vehicle before fleeing. Jose Ortiz Martinez did not have a gun during the incident.

During the shooting, Nyasia Williams-Thomas was struck in the chest by a bullet and shortly thereafter succumbed to her injuries. She was not the defendants’ intended target.

Woonsocket Police officers tracked down the defendants to the home on Bennett Street and after a brief standoff, took them into custody. Detectives later recovered a .32 caliber revolver and ammunition that the defendants attempted to hide.

On July 1, 2021, Jose Ortiz Martinez pleaded guilty one count of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced on October 8, 2021, to 10 years with four years to serve at the ACI and a six-year suspended sentence with 10 years of probation.

Detective Michael Flood of the Woonsocket Police Department and Assistant Attorneys General Meghan McDonough and Timothy Healy of the Office of the Attorney General led the investigation and prosecution of the cases.

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