Pawtucket man sentenced to life in state prison for 2018 downtown Providence murder
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Pawtucket man has been sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to life in prison after pleading to the December 26, 2018 murder of 30-year-old David Long in downtown Providence.
At a hearing on February 20, 2022, Pofinima Gweama (age 33) entered a plea of guilty to first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in injury.
At the hearing, before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, the Court sentenced the defendant to life at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) followed by a consecutive 20-year suspended, nonparolable sentence.
“Senseless violence – there is just no other way to describe this case. This was a planned robbery, and the ready availability of and willingness to use a firearm to effectuate that robbery resulted in the death of David Long,” said Attorney General Neronha. “The defendant’s conduct plainly warrants the life sentence he received. I am grateful for the fine work and partnership of the Providence Police Department during the investigation into the case.”
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on December 26, 2018, the defendant and two unindicted co-conspirators participated in an armed robbery resulting in the shooting death of David Long.
On the evening of December 25 and into the early morning of December 26, the defendant and three other men traveled in a Dodge Durango to Lawrence, Mass., where they visited a nightclub before returning to Providence.
Unbeknownst to the other men, the defendant and his co-conspirators formulated a plan to rob his fellow passengers. Throughout the evening, the defendant and his co-conspirators texted details to coordinate the robbery such as the seating arrangement of the passengers, the valuables each passenger likely possessed, the location of the Durango – ultimately outside of the victim’s apartment at 100 Fountain Street – and instructions such as “act scary,” according to forensic analysis of the defendant’s phone.
During the robbery, a .40 caliber handgun was fired, hitting David Long. The driver, who was struck in the head during the robbery, was able to pilot the vehicle to Rhode Island Hospital where David Long was pronounced dead. Investigators never recovered the gun used in the murder.
Providence police recovered the defendant’s cellphone and other identification from the crime scene. The phone underwent forensic analysis and when the defendant contacted Providence police to retrieve his cellphone, he was presented with the incriminating messages.
“I commend the exemplary investigative efforts of our detectives and the Attorney General’s office throughout this investigation resulting in this criminal being brought to justice,” said Providence Police Chief Oscar Perez. “This brazen violence has no home on our streets and hopefully some peace is brought to the victims family knowing that this violent individual will remain behind bars for decades to come.”
Providence Police Detectives Angelo A’vant, Jonathan Primiano, Theodore Michael, Michelle Braga, and David Moscarelli and Special Assistant Attorneys General John Perrotta and Alison Bittl of the Office of the Attorney General led the prosecution and investigation of the case.