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Providence man sentenced to 12 years in state prison on felony assault and firearm charges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced in Providence Country Superior Court to serve 12 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI). The charges stem from a 2019 domestic dispute where he assaulted his former girlfriend and her new boyfriend with a revolver at her apartment in Providence.

David Gaines (age 38), pleaded nolo contendere on October 15, 2020 to one count of domestic felony assault, one count of felony assault, and one count of use of a firearm while committing a crime of violence.

At yesterday's hearing, Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers sentenced Gaines to 25 years at the ACI with 12 years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation. The Court further issued a no contact order between Gaines and the victims and ordered Gaines to complete the batterers intervention program.

"Gun violence, and in particular domestic gun violence, warrants a strong law enforcement response," said Attorney General Neronha. "Given the seriousness of this offense, and the defendant's past history of gun violence, today's long sentence is entirely appropriate and well-deserved."

Gaines was previously convicted of use of a firearm while committing a crime of violence in 2002, after pleading guilty in Providence County Superior Court to first-degree robbery and related firearms charges. At the time, Gaines was sentenced to 50 years at the ACI with 10 years to serve and the balance suspended with probation.

"The use of guns to threaten and assault innocent people has no place in our community. I commend the police officers for their quick response and the Attorney General's office for their outstanding work in reaching this significant sentence," said Steven Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety.

Had his latest case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that during the afternoon on July 6, 2019, Gaines assaulted his former girlfriend, who is also the mother of their son, as well as her new boyfriend with a revolver at her apartment on King Street in Providence.

Before the incident, Gaines was driven by a friend to his former girlfriend's apartment to visit their son. During his visit, Gaines became upset because his former girlfriend's new boyfriend was present in the apartment.

Shortly thereafter, Gaines left the apartment and retrieved a .32 caliber Rossi revolver from his friend's vehicle in the parking lot of the apartment complex. He returned to the entrance of the apartment complex and pointed the gun at the heads of his former girlfriend and her boyfriend while yelling at the boyfriend.

Gaines then retreated and drove away from the apartment complex as a passenger in his friend's car. The victims immediately called 911 and shortly thereafter, members of the Providence Police Department stopped the vehicle Gaines was traveling in and arrested him. Officers seized the revolver and found that it was loaded with six live rounds.

Detective Matthew Pine of the Providence Police Department led the investigation into the case. Special Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Burke prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

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