Providence man sentenced to serve consecutive life sentences in state prison for 2021 murder

Published on Friday, July 05, 2024

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that a Providence man has been sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve two consecutive life sentences at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) for the murder of 38-year-old Jorge Garcia at Roque’s Café in Providence in 2021.

At a hearing on July 2, 2024, before Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers, the court sentenced Juan Rivera (age 37) to consecutive life sentences for first-degree murder and discharging of a firearm during the commission of a crime in violence, resulting in death. Additionally, Judge Rodgers deemed the defendant a habitual offender and imposed an additional 10-year consecutive sentence, the first five years of which are non-parole eligible.

On March 15, 2024, following the conclusion of a 14-day trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of one count of murder; one count of conspiracy to commit murder; one count of discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, resulting in death; one count of carrying a pistol without a license; one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person; and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

“Frequent gun violence can desensitize us to the gut-wrenching stories of loss and trauma caused by firearms,” said Attorney General Neronha. “However, we must remain resolute in our efforts to prevent further tragedies and protect our communities and hold accountable those who commit such violence. I can only hope this sentencing brings the victim’s family a measure of peace. And I thank the Providence Police for their partnership in this case and so many others.”

During the trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that on the morning of September 25, 2021, at approximately 8:56 a.m., a masked person wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with distinct white lettering walked into Roque’s Café and shot the victim six times, killing him.

In the days following, investigators obtained video surveillance of the restaurant and the surrounding areas. They also seized surveillance footage from Wiggin Village, Jones Moving Company, Pearl Street Lofts, and several other nearby establishments, by which they pieced together the suspect’s movements prior to, and following, the shooting. 

Through the footage, investigators identified two vehicles involved in the shooting: a maroon Toyota Corolla and a black Dodge Ram. As seen on the video footage, the two vehicles met up prior to the shooting, at which time the driver of the Ram exited the truck and entered the Corolla. The Corolla is next seen at Wiggin Village, where the driver parks the vehicle and both individuals exited and ran in the direction of Roque’s Café minutes before the shooting. The surveillance also captured the suspect running back to Wiggin Village after the shooting, re-entering the Corolla, and driving away.

Furthermore, investigators conducted a forensic analysis of the defendant’s cell phone on September 25, 2021, and tracked the defendant’s location from his residence to Broad Street, where Roque’s restaurant is located, at the time of the murder. 

Finally, investigators obtained a photo of the defendant taken prior to the murder in which he is wearing the same distinct sweatshirt and sneakers as captured by surveillance cameras.

“Senseless violence and tragedies such as this reverberate through our communities, and those who perpetrate these acts must continue to be removed from our streets to better prevent them from occurring,” said Providence Police Colonel Oscar L. Perez Jr. “While there is no justice that can undo the pain caused to this victim’s family, it is my hope that this sentencing provides a measure of comfort. I commend the outstanding work conducted by our officers and investigators, as well as our partners at the Attorney General’s Office.”

Assistant Attorney General Robert E. Johnson of the Office of the Attorney General and Detective Sergeant Terence Greene and Detectives Michael Otrando (retired), Matthew Nadeau, Edward Regine, and Theodore Michael (retired) of the Providence Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.