North Providence Shooting: Mental Health Issues at Play
Young man charged in the Rhode Island Superior Court (Providence County) for:
- Assault with Intent to Murder, in violation of R.I.G.L. § 11-5-1
- Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (to wit: AK 47 firearm), in violation of R.I.G.L. § 11-5-2
- Discharge a Firearm While Committing a Crime of Violence, in violation of R.I.G.L. § 11-47-3.2
- Discharging a Firearm in a Compact Area, in violation of R.I.G.L. § 11-47-50
North Providence Police responded to the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, they discovered an altercation had occurred between two brothers-in-law. The victim of the shooting is married to the shooter’s sister. The shooter is single, suffers from mental health issues and lived at home with his parents. At the time of the incident, the man’s sister and her husband also lived under the same roof while awaiting construction of their new home. The brothers-in-law have a longstanding history of not getting along. On the day in question, the victim engaged in conduct that infuriated the shooter, forming the proverbial last straw. The younger man went to his father’s room, retrieved an AK-47 assault rifle, ran out the front door of the home and took aim at his brother-in-law in the driveway. The young man’s father chased him out in time and grabbed the muzzle of the rifle forcing it up into the air, just as a round was fired. Though the bullet missed its intended target but the victim sustained severe burns from the muzzle flash when the barrel grazed his upper body. Police arrested the young man and charged him with multiple felony, firearm and assault related offenses. His family retained Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to defend him in this matter.
Case Result: Suspended Sentence with Probation.
Attorney Calcagni’s first priority was to secure his client’s release on bail. During pretrial negotiations, the prosecution advocated for a heavy jail sentence given the nature of the charges and intended and actual harm. Attorney Calcagni recognized his client’s mental health problems, which dated back to childhood and went essentially, untreated. He engaged a forensic psychiatrist to perform an evaluation of the man, which yielded an opinion that the man qualified to raise the insanity defense, claiming that due to a serious mental disease, he was unable to either appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions or confirm his conduct to the law at the time he attempted to shoot his brother-in-law. The prosecution hired its own psychiatrist who, though not forming the same opinion as the defense expert, agreed that the man suffered from a severe, longstanding, and untreated illness. Based on these collective facts and circumstances, Attorney Calcagni successfully persuaded the prosecution and court to resolve this case with a suspended sentence and probation that required the man to undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with treatment.