Esteban Carpio (born July 30, 1978) is a
convicted prison inmate, serving a life sentence for the murder of a
policeman in 2005.
Carpio was born in Boston, Massachusetts on July
30, 1978. He was convicted of the murder of Providence Police
Detective Sgt. James L. Allen on April 17, 2005 at Providence Police
headquarters. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
While Carpio was being questioned by the Providence
Police for the stabbing of an 85-year-old woman, a detective left the
third floor interview room, leaving Allen alone with Carpio. Carpio
took Allen's gun and shot him twice, killing him. He then jumped out
of the window, and was apprehended 45 minutes later.
At his arraignment Carpio came in wearing a mask,
with his eyes red and swollen, with his family making accusations of
police brutality. According to a press conference statement made at
the time by Providence Police Chief Dean M. Esserman, Carpio's
injuries were sustained as a result of his jump from the third floor
of a building and struggle with law enforcement.
At trial, Christopher Zarrella, a state police
detective who helped in the arrest, testified that he had punched
Carpio in the face three times. According to that day's testimony,
Zarrella broke bones in Carpio's face. An FBI investigation concluded
that Providence police did not use excessive force.
On June 27, 2006, a jury found Carpio guilty of the
murder of Detective Allen and the stabbing of Madeline Gatta. The jury
rejected Carpio's insanity defense; he was sentenced to life in prison
Carpio gets life without parole
October 10, 2006
PROVIDENCE -- Superior Court Judge Robert D. Krause
today sentenced Esteban Carpio to life without parole for the 2005
murder of Detective Sgt. James L. Allen.
On top of that, Krause gave Carpio an additional
life sentence for the use of a firearm while committing a crime. The
judge also sentenced Carpio to 20 years in prison for the assault on
Madeline Gatta, now 84.
"It would appear to the court, Mr. Carpio, that you
are incorrigible," Judge Krause said. He went on to say that to allow
Carpio even the possibility of parole would be antithetical in a
Before the sentencing, Carpio told the court: "I
was doing all right until one day I woke up and there was something
wrong with me."
In his first public statement, Carpio today said
that he was unable to control himself the night at the police station
when he killed Sgt. Allen with the detective's gun.
Carpio, who began to cry during his statement, also
addressed the Allen family. "I am truly sorry for what has happened to
the victims and the victims' families," he said.
His lawyer, Robert L. Sheketoff, said he will
appeal the conviction and sentence.
Carpio never denied that he killed the officer. He
pleaded not guilty by virtue of insanity, a rare defense that was not
accepted by the jury.
Attorney General Patrick Lynch issued a statement
this afternoon praising the ruling.
"I thank the Court, I thank Judge Krause, for this
sentence. There is no greater punishment, no tougher penalty, than
that which Judge Krause just -- and justly --imposed: life without the
possibility of parole," Lynch said.
"Clearly, Esteban Carpio's crimes, of which he was
convicted in June, qualify as the worst of the worst. In the event
that the defendant pursues his Constitutional rights and appeals his
conviction, and this sentence, I will fight to the very end to ensure
that they stand. To do any less would dishonor the memory of one of
the best officers ever to wear the badge of the Providence Police
Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline also weighed
"Although todayís guilty verdict concludes an
important chapter in the criminal proceedings, itís important to
remember that the loss of Detective Allen continues to be a great
source of pain the Allen family, Police Department and the city of
Providence," Cicilline said in a statement. "The sacrifices Detective
Allen made on behalf of the residents of this city will never be
-- Gregory Smith, Journal staff writer
Carpio found guilty
The jury rejects Esteban Carpio's insanity defense,
convicting him of the murder of Detective Sgt. James L. Allen and the
stabbing of Madeline Gatta.
By Gregory Smith - ProvidenceJournal.com
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
PROVIDENCE -- A Superior Court jury yesterday
convicted Esteban Carpio of the murder of Providence police Detective
Sgt. James L. Allen and the stabbing of an elderly woman, concluding
that he was not insane at the time.
The verdict by an all-white jury of nine women and
three men was reported at 3:25 p.m. on the 14th day of the trial,
after about nine hours of deliberation over two days.
Carpio's relatives in the gallery began crying,
including Yvonne Carpio, his mother and a teacher in the Boston public
schools, who had taken the stand in her son's defense. She recalled
how she had him picked up in an ambulance and treated at a hospital
when he began acting strangely in the weeks before Allen's murder.
She and her son's girlfriend, Samein "Soul" Phin,
who lawyers for both sides called a prostitute during the trial,
testified that they warned Allen and other officers who took Carpio
into custody for questioning in the stabbing that their suspect was
When Carpio's guards stood him up at the defense
table after the proceedings yesterday, he turned to his mother and
mouthed the words, "I love you, Mom." "I love you, Stevie," she called
out, using the English translation of her son's first name.
Carpio trial: Jury hears audio of hysterical
June 20, 2006
PROVIDENCE -- The jury in the murder trial of
Esteban Carpio today heard audio recordings of two police interviews
with the suspect in the murder of a city detective at police
One featured a sedated Carpio, being interviewed by
Detective John Finegan at Rhode Island Hospital at about 3 a.m., a few
hours after the fatal shooting of Detective Sgt. James L. Allen.
The second was an hour-long interview at police
headquarters shortly after 10 the same morning.
In it, a hysterical Carpio was questioned by
Finegan and Detective Sgt. Vincent Mansolillo, who could be heard
alternating his questions with attempts to calm Carpio down.
Carpio at times sobbed and insisted he was "crazy"
and that nobody loved him.
Neuropsychologist Paul A. Spiers testified today
that Esteban Carpio suffered from a major mental illness and "was
probably in the throes of psychosis" when he shot and killed a city
police detective last year.
Spiers took the stand today for the defense, which
hopes to prove that Carpio is not guilty of the murder by reason of
Spiers said that in his opinion, as a result of the
psychosis, Carpio lacked the capacity to conform his behavior to the
requirements of the law.
Spiers based his conclusions on an interview with
Carpio last November and on medical records from Carpio's visits to
Faulkner Hospital, in Boston, and Rhode Island Hospital days before
the April 16, 2005, shooting at Providence police headquarters.
He also listened to tapes of a police detective's
interview with Carpio at Rhode Island Hospital after Carpio's arrest
in the shooting. Those tapes were being played today in court.
The defense is expected to question its last
witness today; the prosecution would then begin its rebuttal tomorrow.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Edward
Carpio trial: Girlfriend tells of alarming
June 19, 2006
PROVIDENCE -- Samein Phin testified today that she
had grown alarmed by the behavior of her boyfriend, Esteban Carpio, in
the days before he is accused of shooting a city detective inside
Phin said he would talk to himself and to his hand
and recalled him saying, "I'm the finest gold."
"He was telling me that somebody did voodoo on him
and he was scared," said Phin, 24, who described herself as a retired
escort and streetwalker as well as the mother of Carpio's 4-year-old
Phin, of Cambodian descent, said she took Carpio to
a Buddhist temple to pray for help. A monk blessed a string that
Carpio tied around his waist to drive away the devil and evil spirits,
When police came to her home to question Carpio
about the stabbing of an elderly woman in April 2005, Phin said she
warned the detectives that Carpio was suffering a nervous breakdown,
was having trouble sleeping and was not in his right mind.
She said she gave the same information to Detective
Sgt. James L. Allen during a brief conversation at police headquarters
and that the detective offered to get Carpio help if he needed it.
Carpio is on trial for shooting Allen at police
headquarters during an interview several hours later, on April 16,
This morning, Carpio's mother, Yvonne Carpio,
testified that in the weeks before the killing, her son told her the
devil was out to get him and that he was cursed.
She said she grew so concerned about her son's
behavior that on April 2, 2005, she called for an ambulance to come to
her home in Boston. She says her son was taken to Boston's Faulkner
Hospital but later released and given five Ambien pills.
She says her son later showed her a string that he
tied around his waist that was supposed to keep the devil and evil
The defense has acknowledged that Carpio killed
Allen, but argues that he should be found not guilty by reason of
Man charged with killing R.I. detective to begin
By Eric Tucker, Associated Press Writer
June 18, 2006
PROVIDENCE, R.I. --Addressing jurors in his opening
statement earlier this month, Esteban Carpio's own lawyer said the
evidence would be overwhelming that his client fatally shot a police
detective and stabbed an elderly woman.
But the lawyer, Robert Sheketoff, said the key
question was not whether Carpio committed the acts but whether he was
too deranged to be held criminally responsible for them.
On Monday, Sheketoff will begin presenting an
insanity defense for Carpio, who is standing trial on charges that he
killed Detective Sgt. James Allen with the officer's own gun at police
headquarters last year, hours after attacking an 84-year-old woman
with a knife.
Sheketoff says doctors who examined Carpio
classified him as psychotic. His family said he had been hearing
voices, and corrections officials say Carpio refused to eat in prison
and banged his head on the wall.
Experts in psychiatry and the law say insanity
defenses are used in a small fraction of criminal cases and are rarely
successful. They say juries can be skeptical that mental illness
absolves someone of criminal wrongdoing or fear that a "not guilty"
verdict can ultimately return a dangerous defendant to the street.
"When it's been a serious crime like murder and it
seems to be fairly deliberate, it's hard to convince a jury that the
mental illness may have been a significant factor in what happened,"
said Howard Zonana, medical director of the American Academy of
Psychiatry and the Law and a psychiatry professor at Yale University.
Zonana said insanity defenses are used in less than
1 percent of criminal cases. H. Reed Cosper, Rhode Island's mental
health advocate, said he could recall fewer than a half-dozen insanity
defenses in the state in the last 20 years.
Insanity defenses have been used with varying
success in notorious criminal cases around the country.
John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Reagan in
1981, was acquitted by reason of insanity and has been held for more
than two decades at a hospital in Washington. Lorena Bobbitt, charged
with cutting off her husband's penis in 1993, was also found not
guilty by reason of insanity after she described being abused by her
But jurors in 2002 rejected the insanity defense of
Andrea Yates, convicting the Texas woman in the bathtub drownings of
her five children. The conviction was overturned because of erroneous
testimony by a witness, but Yates is again pleading innocent by reason
of insanity in her upcoming retrial.
"Usually the insanity defense is successful when
the person is totally out of it," said Jennifer Bard, a professor at
the Texas Tech University School of Law who has written about the
insanity defense. "He doesn't know what day it is, he doesn't know
what he did, he wouldn't know if he was pulling the trigger."
Even defendants who are mentally ill may not be
able to satisfy their state's definition of legally insane.
To prove insanity in Rhode Island, defendants have
to show that their mental disease or defect prevented them from
appreciating the wrongfulness of their acts or controlling their
behavior. It's a high threshold to meet, Cosper said, but more
favorable to mentally ill defendants than an alternative standard that
hinges simply on whether the defendant knew right from wrong. Experts
say an insane person could know right from wrong, but still be unable
to control their behavior.
Prosecutor Paul Daly, who rested his case last
week, tried to show that Carpio calculated his moves and acted with a
keenly aware criminal mind. He will have an opportunity to rebut the
insanity defense in what could come down to a battle of experts in
Prosecutors plan to seek life in prison without
parole for Carpio if he is convicted of murdering Allen. He would be
placed in the state mental hospital if acquitted by reason of
Carpio was brought to police headquarters late on
April 16, 2005 to be questioned about the stabbing of Madeline Gatta,
now 85, earlier that day. He is accused of grabbing Allen's gun,
shooting him twice at close range and then shooting out a nearby
window to escape. He was captured in downtown Providence and fought
violently with the officers who tried to arrest him, according to
He made his first court appearance with a heavily
bruised face, and his family alleged he was a victim of police
brutality. An investigation found authorities did not use excessive
Carpio trial: Both of Allens' wounds were fatal,
June 14, 2006
PROVIDENCE -- City police Detective Patricia
Cornell testified this afternoon that either one of two gunshot wounds
suffered by Detective Sgt. James L. Allen could have killed him.
Cornell, who took the stand this morning at the
trial of murder suspect Esteban Carpio, has been reviewing crime scene
She said this afternoon that the headshot to Allen
was at close range, according to gunshot residue on him. A gunshot to
the clavicle was from at least three feet away, she said.
Three bullets were fired in the conference room at
police headquarters where the shooting occurred in April 2005. Cornell
said today that the third was lodged in the base of a table in the
The evidence shows that that bullet was fired from
someone standing with his back to the interior of the closed
conference room door, she said, adding that rabbit fur from Carpio's
rabbit fur jacket was found on the door.
Cross-examination of Cornell began before the trial
stopped for today. It will resume tomorrow morning.
Earlier today, the owner of a Boston barber shop,
where Carpio told police he worked on the day Allen was killed,
appeared on the witness stand.
Doyen Dunkley, of A-1 Barber Shop, denied knowing
or ever seeing Carpio, now on trial for murdering Allen and stabbing
an elderly woman hours before.
Later in the proceedings, Providence police Sgt.
Robert Boehm, who works in the department's weapons unit, used Allen's
holster -- known as a pancake holster -- to show the jury how one
would remove the gun. In a detailed demonstration, Boehm used Allen's
actual gun, its evidence tag hanging off.
Trooper testifies he punched Carpio in the face
State Police Detective Chistopher Zarrella
testified today that in arresting Carpio last year he punched Carpio
three times in the face with his closed fist.
Zarrella, the first witness to testify today said
he hit Carpio on Washington Street a few blocks from police
"I struck him because he was trying to strike me.
And I thought he had a weapon,'' Zarrella testified.
He added during further questioning that Carpio was
swinging at him and that he believed that his life was in danger.
Until today's testimony, the public never knew who
injured Carpio the night of the arrest. According to today's
testimony, Zarrella broke bones in Carpio's face.
Carpio last year wore a protective face shield at
his arraignment, which corrections officials said was to prevent him
from spitting at officers.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of
Corrections called the use of the mask a rare security measure. The
spokeswoman did not mention Carpio's injuries.
-- Staff writer Gregory Smith