Trish Oliver (age 33), of West Warwick, RI, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of manslaughter for her role in the October 4, 2009 death of her six-year-old son Marco Nieves.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, reached with the approval of Marco’s living relatives, Oliver is facing a 30-year sentence with a maximum of ten years to serve. Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers ordered a pre-sentencing report to be completed, and set sentencing down for Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Oliver was released on the same bail, $5,000 with surety, pending sentencing.
Oliver was indicted by a Grand Jury in August, 2015 on one count of manslaughter, a month after Michael Patino received to a life sentence after a Providence County jury found him guilty for the beating murder of Marco.
Patino was Oliver’s boyfriend at the time of Marco’s murder.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State would have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime of manslaughter.
At some time between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on October 3, 2009, Oliver became aware that Marco was in need of emergency medical assistance due to Michael Patino having previously struck Marco in the abdomen. The State was prepared to show the defendant knew Marco needed to be brought to a hospital through one text message found on her phone that read, “Wat if I got2 take him 2 da hospiathl wat will I say and dos marks on his neck omg.”
For the next 12 hours, as Marco continued to be violently ill complaining about his stomach, Oliver did not seek medical care for the boy.
On Sunday, October 4, 2009, at approximately 6:10 a.m., at which time the boy was no longer breathing and had no pulse, Oliver finally called E-911. Marco was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital, where after 45 minutes, he was revived by hospital staff.
While at the hospital, as hospital personnel were trying to save Marco’s life, Oliver lied to medical staff and emergency personnel about Marco’s injuries. Despite efforts by medical personnel, Marco succumbed to his injuries just after 5:00 p.m. on October 4, 2009.
During a trial, the State would have presented medical evidence that Marco may have survived had he received medical treatment for his injuries sooner.
Based upon these facts, the State would have proven that the defendant’s conduct, as the mother of Marco Nieves and having a duty to seek medical care for him, was such a departure from what would be expected from an ordinary prudent person in the same circumstances as to be incompatible with a proper regard for human life, and that her actions amounted to recklessness to satisfy “criminal negligence” in committing the act of Manslaughter.
During the trial of Michael Patino, the State proved that on October 3, 2009, the defendant beat six-year-old Marco Nieves so severely that the child later died as a result of his injuries.
On the morning of October 4, 2009, six-year-old Marco Nieves was found unresponsive and not breathing by Oliver and Patino inside her apartment at 575 Dyer Avenue, Cranston and thereafter called E-911. Cranston Fire and Rescue arrived and immediately transported Marco to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and alerted hospital emergency personnel that Marco was in full cardiac arrest. The boy was pronounced dead 11 hours later.
During the Patino trial, former Rhode Island Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson testified that the child died as a result of peritonitis, or inflammation of the abdominal cavity, caused by blunt force trauma to his abdomen that caused a tear in his intestine. Dr. Gilson and Dr. Linda Snelling, Chief of Pediatric Critical Care at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, both testified that Marco had other inflicted injuries on his body.
Also at the trial, more than two dozen text messages sent by Patino to Oliver, in which he admitted striking and hitting Marco, were introduced as evidence. In one of the messages, Patino wrote, “I TOLD U. I WENT 2 PUNCH HIM ON HIS BACK AGAIN AND HE MOVED AND I HIT HIM ON HIS STOMACH,” and in a another he wrote, “I HIT HIM DA SAME WAY EVERYWHERE BUT ITS DAT HE MOVED AND I HIT HIM BAD.”
In an additional message, Patino wrote, “I PUNCH DAT LIL BITCH 3 TIMES AND DAT WAS IT. DA HARDEST 1 WAS ON HIS STOMACH CUZ HE MOVED. BUT LET HIM B A MAN AND NOT A LIL BITCH LIKE U.”
Cranston Police Detectives John Cardone and Jean-Paul Slaughter led the investigation. Assistant Attorney General Stephen A. Regine and Special Assistant Attorney General Peter Roklan prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.