Providence man pleads guilty to 2015 murder at Providence apartment building


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man pleaded guilty in Providence County Superior Court to the 2015 murder of 54-year-old Zenaida Pacheco at an apartment building on Randall Street in Providence.


Efrain Blanco (age 38) entered a plea of guilty to second-degree murder at a hearing on January 13, 2022, before Superior Court Justice Richard Raspallo.


The defendant will be sentenced in Providence Superior Court at a future date.


“Zenaida Pacheco’s life was tragically and unnecessarily cut short, and there is only one person responsible for that – the defendant. He stole a life, and all it promised. There is nothing that we in law enforcement can do to reverse that outcome, but we can do all we can to deliver justice for Zenaida and her family,” said Attorney General Neronha. “The men and women of the Providence Police were again outstanding in their fast and effective investigation of this case, and I am grateful for our ongoing law enforcement partnership.”


Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on October 25, 2015, the defendant strangled Zenaida Pacheco to death in her apartment on Randall Street in Providence.


Providence Police detectives initiated an investigation and quickly identified a suspect based on gathered evidence including cell phone records and surveillance footage.


On November 4, 2015, investigators released photos of the suspect to media outlets, seeking help from the public to identify the suspect. Several weeks later, a member of the public identified the suspect as Efrain Blanco, who was apprehended by detectives shortly thereafter.


Investigators determined that the defendant used a power cord to strangle Zenaida Pacheco and confirmed the presence of the defendant’s DNA on the cord through laboratory testing.


“I commend the members of the Providence Police Department Detective Bureau for their investigation into this homicide, leading to the swift arrest of the subject responsible,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. “Through the comprehensive prosecution of this case conducted by our law enforcement partners at the Office of the RI Attorney General, the defendant involved in this heinous crime will be sentenced to the greatest extent possible, granting justice for the victim involved.”


Detectives from the Providence Police Department conducted the investigation, and Special Assistant Attorneys General Molly Kapstein Cote and Eric A. Batista lead the prosecution of the case.


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