Providence man sentenced to serve 42 years in state prison for 2015 murder at Providence apartment building
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve 42 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading to the 2015 murder of 54-year-old Zenaida Pacheco at an apartment building on Randall Street in Providence.
At a hearing on August 3, 2022, Superior Court Justice Richard Raspallo sentenced Efrain Blanco (age 38) to 60 years, with 42 years to serve at the ACI and an 18-year suspended sentence with probation. Earlier this year, on January 13, 2022, the defendant entered a plea of guilty to second-degree murder.
“The day has finally come when this defendant must pay the price for his senseless murder of Zenaida Pacheco, a woman much loved by her family and her community. Nothing can return Zenaida to her family, but we can deliver justice for her and for them, and that has now been achieved. The defendant has been removed from the community, to spend decades in confinement, his ability to harm others eliminated. He deserves every one of the 42 years imprisonment to which he has been sentenced,” said Attorney General Neronha. “The men and women of the Providence Police were again outstanding in their 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 quickly identified a suspect based on evidence gathered during their investigation, 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 has been 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.