WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Months after the disappearance of Kerry Mello, police Thursday made several arrests in the case and revealed details about the Cranston man’s death.
Eyewitness News was there as four suspects were arraigned and ordered held without bail at Kent County Superior Court Thursday afternoon.
A grand jury Wednesday returned a secret, sealed indictment, charging Jamie Barriera, 35, of 109 Louisiana Avenue, Warwick; Francisco Concepcion, 36, of Louisiana Avenue, Warwick; Albert Barriera, 61, of 117 Shannon Drive, Warwick; and Graig Bustillo, 39, of Adelaide Avenue, Providence, with murder; conspiracy to commit murder; and mutilation of a dead human body.
In-Depth: Kerry Mello Investigation
Police executed the arrest warrants for all four suspects during the pre-dawn hours Thursday.
According to Col. Steven O’Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police, two firearms were also seized during the morning arrests.
“A firearm was seized, secured under a mattress at 117 Shannon Drive,” he said. “And at the Louisiana Avenue address, an AR-15 assault rifle was, of note, five feet from the suspect before he was arrested.”
Mello, 36, was last seen in August 2015 and his disappearance triggered an investigation involving both Rhode Island and Massachusetts police.
During a Thursday afternoon news conference, police said Mello was stabbed, dismembered and thrown into the water. His remains washed up on shore in Westport, Massachusetts and in Little Compton.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said it appears the murder stemmed from a dispute over stolen marijuana.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, Jamie Barreira was involved in growing marijuana and at some point in the summer of 2015 a “significant quantity of marijuana and currency was stolen from him.”
Police allege Barreira believed Mello had stolen about 30 pounds of marijuana and $10,000 from him. According to officials, Barreira was licensed to grow marijuana as a caregiver.
Prosecutors said Barreira lured the victim to a home on Shannon Drive where his father, Albert Barreira, lived. There, prosecutors said, is where Mello was killed and his body dismembered.
Police said Jamie Barreira’s boat was used to dispose of Mello’s remains.
Prosecutors said all four suspects acted together in Mello’s death.
During Concepcion’s arraignment, prosecutor Tim Healey said, “Judge, I’m requesting this defendant be held without bail. He’s being charged today in the murder of Kerry Mello. Mr. Mello had gone missing on August 10 of 2015. His remains were located off the waters of Westport, Massachusetts and in Little Compton, Rhode Island approximately 10 days later. State police detectives have developed evidence that this defendant, along with three other co-defendants, who will be presented to you today, committed that murder and the grand jury returned an indictment.”
Back in November, multiple homes in Warwick were searched in connection with Mello’s disappearance. Eyewitness News cameras captured investigators in the backyard of a home on Shannon Drive. State Police wouldn’t say what was taken away in evidence bags, only confirming the investigation was connected to Mello’s disappearance.
- TIMELINE: Kerry Mello death investigation
- RELATED: Officials tight-lipped about investigation at Warwick home
- MORE: Investigation in Warwick connected to missing man probe
- POLICE: Officials seek vehicle in search for missing man
Rhode Island State Police in January confirmed Mello was deceased, but at that time, they did not provide any further details.