Providence man sentenced to serve 28 years in state prison for role in 2013 murder


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve 28 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading to his role in the murder of 78-year-old Delor “Dean” Cabral in Providence in 2013.


Joel Valdez (age 34) entered a plea of guilty, on May 8, 2015, to one count of second degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, and multiple counts of breaking and entering, larceny, and conspiracy stemming from several additional cases.


At a hearing on August 29, 2022, before Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers, the Court sentenced the defendant to 50 years, with 28 years to serve at the ACI and a 22-year suspended sentence with 50 years of probation. The defendant has been held at the ACI since his arrest on October 12, 2013.


“The impact of the loss of Mr. Cabral to a senseless display of violence is as powerful today as it was in 2013,” said Attorney General Neronha. “It is my hope that the significant sentence handed down by the court, and the life sentence given to a co-defendant earlier this year, will bring some measure of closure and a belief that justice has been achieved to Mr. Cabral’s family and loved ones. I am grateful to the Providence 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 beyond a reasonable doubt that during the early morning hours of October 5, 2013, the defendant participated in a violent breaking and entering at a multi-unit home in Providence owned by Delor Cabral, who sustained significant injuries during the incident from which he later died.


That morning, the defendant, and co-defendant, Leopoldo Belen, broke into the third-floor apartment of the home on Ontario Street. During the breaking and entering, both of the defendants assaulted an occupant in the apartment.


During the assault, Mr. Cabral, the owner of the apartment, rushed upstairs to investigate the disturbance. As he entered the apartment, Leopoldo Belen threw Mr. Cabral to the floor and stomped on him. The defendants then fled from the apartment.


The violent assault caused significant trauma to the head and neck of Mr. Cabral, who succumbed to those injuries nearly one month later, on November 2, 2013.


Leopoldo Belen was convicted of second degree murder on June 2, 2022, and was sentenced to life in prison.


“Today marks a completion of the investigation and prosecution of two defendants for their violent actions that led to the death of beloved member of the community,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. “I commend the work of the Providence Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General in this case.”


“I commend the members of the Providence Police Department for their hard work during the investigation of this case, and the Office of the Attorney General for successfully prosecuting the cases against both defendants,” said Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. “Regardless of the passage of time, we remained committed to working as a team to seeing that justice be achieved on behalf of Mr. Cabral and his family.”


Retired Detective Emilio Matos and Detective Troy Lambert of the Providence Police Department and Assistant Attorneys General Joseph McBurney and Peter Roklan of the Office of the Attorney General led the investigation and prosecution of the case.