Pawtucket man sentenced to serve 1 year in state prison on illegal firearm charge


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Pawtucket man was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve one year at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI), stemming from his arrest in March 2020 by the Providence Police Department for carrying a pistol without a permit.


Giovanni Depina (age 20) entered a plea of nolo contendere to carrying a pistol without a permit.


At a hearing on July 27, 2021, before Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers, the court sentenced Depina to five years at the ACI with one year to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation.


“Traveling the streets of Providence with a loaded gun presents a danger to residents and law enforcement alike. While it is impossible to know the defendant’s intentions regarding the firearm he had hidden under his seat, the fact is, he had ready access to it, he was mobile, and his mobility was disguised by the lack of headlight use. When a defendant presents such potential danger, even a defendant as young as this one, a period of incarceration is plainly warranted,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I am grateful to the Providence Police Department officers who acted so quickly to resolve a dangerous situation.”


Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that during the early morning hours of March 8, 2020, Depina was arrested by Providence Police officers for carrying a pistol without a permit following a vehicle stop on Broad Street.


Early that morning, officers pulled over a vehicle with three occupants that was traveling without any headlights on. During the stop, officers smelled marijuana and Depina, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, admitted that he had marijuana in his possession.


During a subsequent search of the vehicle, officers seized a loaded SCCY CPX-2 9mm pistol under Depina’s seat. Depina later admitted to officers that he owned the pistol.


“Individuals who possess and circulate illegal firearms present a serious threat of violence to the public and removing guns from our streets is top priority to the members of the Providence Police Department,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. “This arrest serves as one of the many examples of the outstanding work that our officers do each day to better ensure safety within our community. I commend the officers involved in this apprehension and thank the Office of the Attorney General for their prosecution of this case and for continued dedication toward eliminating illegal firearms from our streets and keeping them out of the hands of violent and dangerous criminals.”


Special Assistant Attorney General Gregory Abilheira of the Office of the Attorney General and the Providence Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.




The FBI is reporting an increase in violent crime for the first time in four years. The Bureau announced its 2020 Crime Statistics on Monday, which shows a more than five percent increase compared to the year before. Murders and non-negligent manslaughter crimes also saw a dramatic increase of nearly 30 percent.       A New York jury has found R&B singer R. Kelly guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges. Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said the verdict shows he preyed on the young, vulnerable and voiceless. The jury deliberated for a total of about nine hours to reach their verdict.        The White House is clearing up any confusion regarding COVID vaccine boosters. Press Secretary Jen Psaki [[ SAH-kee ]] clarified the booster is available for Pfizer vaccine recipients who are 65-and-older, along with other high risk groups. That includes frontline workers and those with weakened immune systems.        The Senate Majority Leader is giving a warning about not extending the federal debt limit. Speaking on the Senate floor, Chuck Schumer said it could have a ripple effect throughout the U.S. economy. The Treasury Department has warned the U.S. could default on its debt obligations next month.       Congresswoman Karen Bass could become the first Black, female mayor of Los Angeles. The California Democrat announced her run today as she has represented parts of L.A. in Congress for a decade and is considered a rising star in the national Democratic Party. Recent polls show she's likely to be a strong contender in an already crowded field.        TikTok says it has one-billion global users per month. The short-form video app has been growing steadily over the last few years, picking up major steam during the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. The company was averaging just over half-a-billion users in December of 2019.