Providence man sentenced to double life in prison for 2021 murder

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that a Providence man has been sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve life in prison for the 2021 murder of 31-year-old Joshua Costa.

On March 28, 2024, Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers sentenced Phillip Manners (age 44) to two consecutive life sentences at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI), plus a 20-year sentence to be served concurrently with the first life sentence.

On November 10, 2023, following the conclusion of a two-week trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of one count of second-degree murder, one count of discharging a firearm while in the commission of a crime of violence with death resulting, one count of possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a crime of violence, and one count of possession of a firearm without a license.

“Keeping guns out of the hands of people with a violent criminal record is crucial to keeping our communities safe,” said Attorney General Neronha. “This defendant was previously convicted of a violent crime and was legally barred from having a firearm. That’s why our collective enforcement of commonsense gun laws is so important; it will save other families from such tragic outcomes in the future. I hope this life sentence provides some measure of closure for the Costa family, and I thank the Providence Police for their extraordinary work on this case and so many others.”

During the trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant shot and killed the victim following a dispute.

On April 15, 2021, the defendant and the victim met at a garage located on Harris Avenue in Providence. The following day at approximately 1:00 p.m., the two men again met at the garage, at which time the victim brandished a gun in front of the defendant and took a bag belonging to the defendant, the state argued contained narcotics, before fleeing. The defendant then retrieved a gun out of his satchel, chased the victim into the garage’s office and fired several shots at the victim, killing him.

Surveillance footage from outside the garage depicted the defendant leaving the building through the office door following the victim’s murder.

“I want to thank the men and women of the Providence Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office for their work in bringing this defendant to justice,” said Providence Police Colonel Oscar Perez. “When firearms are in the hands of violent criminals, tragedies such as this occur. We must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to remove firearms from our streets and remain committed to seeking justice on behalf of victims and their loved ones.”

Assistant Attorney General Robert Johnson IV and Special Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Burke of the Office of the Attorney General and Detective Sgt. Fabio Zuena, Detective Raymond Majeau, Detective Douglas Steele (retired), and Detective Ralph Costantino (retired) of the Providence Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.

 

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