Providence man imprisoned for murder he did not commit sues state, city
Katie Mulvaney Journal Staff Writer kmulvane
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Providence man wrongly implicated and imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit is suing his former accusers — the Providence Police Department and the State of Rhode Island — accusing them of malicious prosecution and of detaining him long after they realized they lacked evidence linking him to the October 2013 crime.
Wilbert L. Richardson, 43, filed suit this week in U.S. District Court alleging that the Providence police; Detective Emilio Matos, individually; and the state wrongfully arrested, prosecuted and confined him for 19 months in the stabbing death of 78-year-old Delor “Dean” Cabral. Richardson is seeking unspecified damages and asks the court to direct the city and the state to institute better training regarding Constitutional protections and the duty to continue an investigation when the purported eyewitness lacks credibility.
Richardson accuses prosecutors of having a grand jury hand down a “sham” indictment charging him in Cabral’s death in an effort to shield the state and the police from liability.
“It’s really sad and tragic what happened to him. He was detained and prosecuted long after it was clear he did not commit any offense. It’s not clear there was ever any credible evidence he committed the offense,” said Richard Sinapi, who represents Richardson with Shannah Kurland.
Prosecutors cleared Richardson in Cabral’s death in May 2015. At the same time, they announced that a grand jury had issued a secret indictment charging Leopoldo Belen, a repeat felon with a long criminal history, with fatally beating Cabral.
“I always knew inside myself I would be out,” Richardson said at the time. “It’s been tough. … People go by what the news says.”
According to the complaint, Richardson and his wife, Tanisha, left their home around 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 5, 2013,