Providence man sentenced to life in prison for 2013 murder

 Providence man sentenced to life in prison for 2013 murder
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to life in prison after pleading to the murder of 78-year-old Delor “Dean” Cabral in Providence in 2013.

Leopoldo Belen (age 33) entered a plea of nolo contendere to one count of second-degree murder.

At a hearing on June 2, 2022, before Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers, the Court sentenced the defendant to life at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI). The defendant is currently serving a life sentence at the ACI following a 2014 conviction for sexual assault.

“To hear the account of this crime is to be overwhelmed by its senselessness and life-extinguishing impact on a man who had lived life well and at the time of his death was coming to the assistance of others,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Nothing will bring Mr. Cabral back to his family, but it is my hope that the long sentence imposed by the court will bring them a measure of closure and a belief that justice has been achieved. I am grateful to the Providence Police Department for their outstanding work and partnership during the investigation and prosecution of this case.”

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that during the early morning hours of October 5, 2013, the defendant attacked Mr. Cabral during a breaking and entering at a multi-unit home that Mr. Cabral owned on Ontario Street, causing significant injuries to which he later succumbed.

That morning, the defendant, and co-defendant, Joel Valdez, broke into the third-floor apartment of the home on Ontario Street. During the breaking and entering, both of the defendants assaulted an occupant in the apartment.

During the assault, Mr. Cabral, the owner of the apartment, rushed upstairs to investigate the disturbance. As he entered the apartment, the defendant threw Mr. Cabral to the floor and stomped on him. The defendants then fled from the apartment.

The defendant caused significant trauma to the head and neck of Mr. Cabral, who succumbed to those injuries nearly one month later, on November 2, 2013.

Joel Valdez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2015 and is awaiting sentencing in Providence County Superior Court.

“I commend the members of the Providence Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General for their investigation and prosecution into this case, holding the defendant accountable for his horrific actions,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety.

Retired Detective Emilio Matos and Detective Troy Lambert of the Providence Police Department and Assistant Attorneys General Joseph J. McBurney and Peter Roklan of the Office of the Attorney General led the investigation and prosecution of the case.

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