For Immediate Release
Richard Monroe Pleads Guilty in Connection with the Death of Kevin DeOliveira
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that, on April 18, 2018, Richard Monroe, age 25, pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Rutland, Vermont, to possessing firearms in furtherance of his cocaine trafficking and to discharging a handgun and killing Kevin DeOliveira on January 2, 2015. At the time of his death, DeOliveira was 23 years old and enrolled at the University of Vermont. Specifically, Monroe pleaded to two federal crimes in front of Chief Judge Geoffrey Crawford. He admitted to conspiring with Zachery Hust and others to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine during the second half of 2014. He also pleaded guilty to a firearms charge that he carried, used and possessed firearms during, and in furtherance of, the cocaine conspiracy, and, in particular, that he discharged a handgun on January 2, 2015, resulting in the death of Kevin DeOliveira.
In court, Monroe admitted participating in the cocaine conspiracy. During 2014, Monroe regularly obtained quantities of cocaine from DeOliveira and redistributed part of that cocaine to various customers in the Burlington area. In late 2014, Hust joined the conspiracy. For example, Hust and Monroe planned to obtain a kilogram of cocaine to sell to a marijuana customer of Hust, though that deal never came to fruition. During 2014, the conspiracy involved well over 500 grams of cocaine.
Monroe also admitted carrying, using, and possessing firearms in furtherance of this cocaine conspiracy. In 2014, the defendant possessed several firearms, including two handguns, a Glock and a Browning Buckmark .22. He regularly carried the Glock or displayed it in his residence when distributing cocaine. Monroe also admitted shooting DeOliveira and killing him on January 2, 2015. In late 2014, Monroe had a financial dispute with DeOliveira over several ounces of cocaine that had been damaged. DeOliveira claimed that the defendant owed him several thousand dollars for the cocaine. Monroe disputed this debt. On the morning of January 2, 2015, Monroe approached the door of DeOliveira's residence at 58 Green Street in Burlington. When DeOliveira opened the door of his apartment, the defendant discharged his Browning Buckmark .22 pistol, firing one bullet into DeOliveira’s eye. This shot killed Kevin DeOliveira.
The charges Monroe pleaded guilty to carry a mandatory minimum of 15 years, with a maximum sentence of life. Monroe, however, pleaded guilty pursuant to a binding plea agreement in which the parties agreed to a sentence of 25 years in prison. The court accepted the plea but deferred acceptance of the plea agreement until after the court’s consideration of the presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office. If the court rejects the plea agreement, Monroe will have the option of withdrawing his guilty plea.
The arrest of Monroe was the culmination of a multi-agency investigation that began in early 2015. The collaborative effort was led by the Burlington Police Department, U.S. Marshal Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office also assisted extensively with the investigation of the case, particularly in its early stages.
U.S. Attorney Christina E. Nolan commended the extraordinary investigative work of the Burlington Police Department and the ATF and the contributions of the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office. She stated: “this was a dogged investigation involving local and federal law enforcement and local and federal prosecutors that spanned years and entailed extensive cooperation. I commend the top-notch team effort that resulted, finally, in justice for the victim’s family and closure for them and our community. This kind of senseless violence in connection with the drug trade is abhorrent and we will continue to come together to put a stop to it. Those who would use violence, or carry or discharge firearms, to further their drug business, must understand that law enforcement will unite and work tirelessly to show zero tolerance and achieve justice. You will be priority targets for federal prosecution.”
State’s Attorney Sarah George commented: “Our office is extremely grateful to the many agencies who played a part in the investigation, prosecution, and resolution of this heinous and senseless murder. We are incredibly relieved that both justice and closure have finally come for Mr. DeOliveira and his family.”
“We will investigate this city’s homicides until every lead is exhausted or an arrest is made, and we are reassured by the knowledge that our partners in the US Attorney’s office are just as determined and relentless,” said Brandon del Pozo, Burlington’s Chief of Police. “The city owes a debt of gratitude to this top-notch team of detectives and prosecutors. They have given closure to the family of the victim and made sure justice was served to Mr. Monroe.”
United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan and Assistant United States Attorney Paul J. Van de Graaf are prosecuting the case. Monroe is represented by Attorneys Mark Kaplan and Natasha Sen.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.