PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two Woonsocket men have been sentenced to life in prison for shooting and killing a 17-year-old girl outside an apartment complex three years ago, according to Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha.
Quinton St. Pierre and Craig Robinson, both 20, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the 2019 murder of Woonsocket resident Nyasia Williams-Thomas.
Williams-Thomas, according to investigators, was shot while she was sitting in her car outside the Plaza Village apartment complex with two others, including a 14-year-old boy. Investigators believe that the 14-year-old was the intended target.
Detectives determined that the 14-year-old had offended Robinson in a series of text messages, and that’s why they, along with 17-year-old Jose Ortiz Martinez, devised a plan to attack him.
The three teens, wearing face masks, startled the 14-year-old boy, Williams-Thomas and a 21-year-old woman by banging on the sides of the parked car that they were sitting in.
St. Pierre and Robinson, who investigators said were armed, shot into the vehicle before the trio took off. Ortiz Martinez did not have a weapon on him.
One of the bullets hit Williams-Thomas, who was in the driver’s seat, in the chest. She attempted to drive off, though investigators said she hit six to 10 parked cars in the process.
Williams-Thomas was rushed to Landmark Medical Center where she later succumbed to her injuries.
Following a brief stand off between the suspects and officers, all three teens were taken into custody.
St. Pierre and Robinson have both been sentenced to life in prison for the murder, plus 15 years for additional charges.
“Petty disputes and illegal firearms in the hands of individuals all too willing to use them remains a toxic mix, resulting in too many senseless deaths in Rhode Island,” Neronha said. “That is precisely the scenario here, and as a result, a young woman, with her entire life ahead of her, has been lost to her family and her community.”
Neronha said while nothing can bring Williams-Thomas back, he hopes these “significant sentences” will bring them some sort of closure.
Following his sentencing Wednesday, St. Pierre addressed Williams-Thomas’ family.
“I just want to say that I’m sorry for what happened, I really am,” he said.
Ortiz Martinez, now 20, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit robbery last July, and was sentenced to 10 years, with four to serve a few months later.