For Immediate Release
Richard Monroe Sentenced to Twenty-Five Years in Prison in Connection with Murder of Kevin DeOliveira
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that today Richard Monroe, age 26, was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison in United States District Court in Rutland, Vermont, for possessing firearms in furtherance of his cocaine trafficking and 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. In April, Monroe pleaded guilty 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 acknowledged 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.
U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan stated: "we commend our law enforcement partners in the Burlington Police Department and ATF for their collaboration and dogged investigation, which resulted in justice for Kevin DeOliveira and his devoted family. We know they continue to grieve, but we hope today’s significant sentence gives them some peace and an opportunity to move forward. This was a senseless crime of terrible violence that rocked the Burlington community. We hope the resolution of this case will be a signal to that community and the entire state that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its partners at all levels will not tolerate violence in connection with the drug trade or in any other context, and that we will always join together to rectify this form of injustice and keep our communities safe. We also thank the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office for its early assistance with this important case."
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. Today, the court accepted the plea agreement after a hearing before the court where both Monroe and Kevin’s mother addressed Chief Judge Crawford. Monroe has been detained since his arrest on June 12, 2017.
"Richard Monroe murdered Kevin DeOliveira in 2015. Proving this beyond a reasonable doubt and holding him accountable for this killing was not a simple matter, but that is why the men and women of the United States Attorney's Office and the Burlington Police Department are relentless in seeking justice for the crime victims in our city," said Brandon del Pozo, the Chief of Police of Burlington, Vermont. "Monroe's sentencing today will not bring Kevin back, but it will remind those who loved him that we did not forget that the government had a duty to hold his assailant responsible. And so he will be."
"Today’s sentencing demonstrates ATF’s commitment to targeting violent criminals who possess firearms in furtherance of narcotics trafficking", said Mickey Leadingham, ATF Special Agent in Charge Field of the Boston Field Division. "Additionally, ATF’s forensic laboratory played a pivotal role in this investigation as they did specialized ballistic comparisons to the recovered firearm. ATF will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to eliminate these type of crimes and keep our communities safe."
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 and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan and Assistant United States Attorney Paul J. Van de Graaf prosecuted 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.