Teenager sentenced to life in prison after killing man in fight over marijuana
A 19-year-old Providence man will spend the rest of his life in prison due to an argument about marijuana.
A wife and mother stood in Superior Court Friday, begging for justice for her late husband, Hernan Avila Jr., 46.
He was shot and killed in 2016 outside of a Sam's Food Stores in North Providence.
“This is my husband -- he was a family man,” said the victim’s wife, Georgette Avila, as she showed Justice Robert Krause a picture of her family.
Ernest Keosouphanh, 19, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Avila Jr. and shooting his son, Hernan Avila III eight times. Keosouphanh pleaded guilty to the murder.
Inside the courtroom, the victim's wife recalled seeing her husband and son being shot.
“I still have nightmares every day of the gunfire,” Georgette Avila said.
According to prosecutors, on May 15, 2016 Avila III was outside of Sam's Food Stores on Humbert Street when he was approached by two men who asked him if he had any marijuana. When Avila III told them he didn't have any, the men said they were going to call friends and "shoot up the place." That's when Avila III called his dad and asked him to come to the convenience store.
“My husband protected our son to his best ability,” Georgette Avila said.
Soon after, three other men --including Keosouphanh -- drove up to the convenience store. Keosouphanh then shot Avila III. When Keosouphanh tried driving off, Avila Jr. charged after the teen before the teen fatally shot him.
“This 19-year-old boy took my husband's life and almost killed my son,” Georgette Avila said.
As a state prosecutor recounted the facts of the case, the victim's wife openly wept in court.
“I will never get to hug, kiss, tell my husband I love him,” she said.
The victim's son, Hernan Avila III -- who was also shot -- was in court and told the judge his father was a great dad.