Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that today, Derell Johnson, age 22, pleaded nolo contendere before Superior Court Magistrate John F. McBurney III to second degree murder and first degree robbery. The charges are related to the April 1, 2015 death of Briana Giorgio.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Johnson was sentenced to life, plus 15 years to serve, the sentences to run consecutive.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on April 1, 2015, Derell Johnson shot and killed Briana Giorgio during an arranged drug deal. At approximately 8:00 p.m., Giorgio was sitting in her car on Sterling Avenue in Providence waiting for Johnson to arrive. Johnson approached the vehicle and shot Giorgio through the open driver’s side door. The bullet grazed her thumb, entered her chest, and pierced her heart, causing her death. Johnson then stole a quantity of marijuana from Giorgio.
Providence Police, through tracing cell phone calls made to the victim prior to the murder, were able to develop Johnson as a suspect. They located and interviewed him, at which time Johnson confessed to the murder and robbery.
“This was a drug deal gone bad, plain and simple. Briana Giorgio’s life ended violently when the defendant brutally shot and killed her over drugs, which he stole from her as she sat dying in her car,” said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.
Providence Police Detective Jonathan Primiano led the investigation and Assistant Attorney General John E. Corrigan prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.