Central Falls man found guilty of 2020 Pawtucket murder with illegal gun


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Central Falls man was found guilty in Providence County Superior Court of the murder of Joel Rosario during a roadside confrontation in Pawtucket in 2020.


On November 29, 2021, following the conclusion of an 11-day trial before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, a jury found Jairo Esdel Galva (age 22) guilty of second-degree murder, discharge of a firearm when committing a crime of violence resulting in death, discharge of a firearm from a motor vehicle, and carrying a pistol without a license.


A sentencing hearing will be scheduled in Providence Count Superior Court at a later date.


“This case is another example of how the wide availability of illegal firearms in the hands of those all too willing to use them to settle meaningless disputes can result in tragic consequences.  Because two people had some apparently insignificant problem with one another, one is now dead, and the other is facing a long prison sentence,” said Attorney General Neronha.


“Justice has been achieved for Mr. Rosario and his family, and for that I am grateful,” continued Attorney General Neronha.  “And yet there is a broader problem here – the proliferation of illegal firearms among people willing to use them without a second thought – which demands that we in law enforcement continue our proactive efforts to get those guns and those shooters off the street before they can inflict harm on others.  I am grateful to Chief Goncalves and the Pawtucket Police Department for their outstanding work throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case.”


During the trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Galva did not act in self-defense on the evening of October 31, 2020, when he shot and killed Joel Rosario following a roadside confrontation at the intersection of Lonsdale Avenue and Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket.


That evening, Mr. Rosario celebrated his 22nd birthday with a group of friends at a home in Central Falls before traveling to another destination in Providence. While Mr. Rosario and the group of friends traveled on Lonsdale Ave. in several cars, the defendant drove behind them in a Jeep Cherokee.


Witnesses at trial testified that Mr. Galva flashed the high beams of his Jeep Cherokee several times while he drove behind the group.


When the vehicles reached the intersection of Lonsdale Ave. and Mineral Spring Ave., Mr. Rosario exited one of the vehicles to confront Mr. Galva. Mr. Rosario walked to the front passenger side window of Mr. Galva’s Jeep Cherokee, where Mr. Galva rolled down the window and fired one shot with a .38 caliber revolver, striking Mr. Rosario in the chest, before driving away.


Friends rushed Mr. Rosario to Miriam Hospital where he was pronounced dead.


Mr. Galva turned himself in to the Pawtucket Police several days later, on November 4, 2020.


"This was a tragic event where the removal of illegal guns and the de-escalation of a dispute may have made a difference," said Acting Public Safety Director Chief Tina Goncalves. "The Pawtucket Police Department is happy to be a partner of the Attorney General's office on these illegal firearms investigations as we all work to keep our community safe."


Detectives Andrew Torres and Justin Gould of the Pawtucket Police Department and Special Assistant Attorneys General John Perrotta and Gregory Moore led the investigation and prosecution of the case.


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