WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Westerly man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday after pleading no contest to a second-degree murder charge in a decades-old case.
David Roscoe, 62, was charged with the 1990 murder and sexual assault of 85-year-old Germaine Mouchon after DNA evidence linked him to the crime in 2015.
Mouchon’s grandson, Richard, brought the case to West Warwick police detectives that year after discovering his grandmother’s birth certificate listed her manner of death as “homicide.” Her murder case had gone cold but new DNA technology enabled investigators to match a semen sample to Roscoe, a convicted child molester, 25 years later.
Roscoe was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison in 2017, but the Supreme Court overturned his conviction in January, ruling that Roscoe’s constitutional rights had been violated when a detective testified about statements made by Mouchon’s son and two of her friends shortly after her death.
On Wednesday, Roscoe took a plea deal, pleading no contest to an amended second-degree murder charge. A sexual assault charge was dropped by the state in exchange for his plea. The judge sentenced Roscoe to 40 years behind bars with 20 years to serve and 20 years suspended. He’ll receive credit for the time he’s spent in prison since his arrest in November 2015.
In court on Wednesday, Roscoe apologized to members of Mouchon’s family.
“I am sorry for your loss,” he said. “I wish that I could change a lot of mistakes that I made back then. I hope that this brings some closure for the family. Again, I am truly sorry.”
Mouchon’s grandson also addressed the court, saying the years-long experience of getting justice for his grandmother was emotionally draining. Richard Mouchon called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roscoe’s conviction earlier this year “irresponsible.”
“The unexpected twists and turns of watching a 25-year-old cold case unfold, having to testify and listen to the testimony of others describing our grandmother and all the graphic, scientific analysis that comes with rape and murder, it is incredible that we have to say the words ‘rape and murder’ in connection with our proud loving grandmother,” he said.
Mouchon called Roscoe a “horrible man” and “extremely dangerous.”
“We will never say his name out loud because he does not deserve recognition in any form,” he said.
West Warwick Police Sgt. Thomas Nye had been working on Germaine Mouchon’s case since her family brought investigators her death certificate back in 2015.
“I’m glad that we were able to come to the conclusion we came to today,” Nye said outside Kent County Superior Court. “I’m satisfied that the family was able to hear him say that he was guilty of it.”
Nye said he wasn’t sure what to make of Roscoe’s apology, speculating that “it was more for him” than it was for Mouchon’s family.
Nye said he’s hopeful that evolving DNA technology will continue to bring closure to families and cases like Mouchon’s. He credits the work of detectives nearly 30 years ago for ultimately bringing Roscoe to justice.
“Their work back in 1990 was absolutely amazing and they left no stones unturned, other than the DNA, which we now have the technology,” he said. “That’s what made this all come together.”