RI AG: Jury convicts Johnston man of 2021 murder


Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced last week that a Johnston man has been found guilty by a Providence County Superior Court jury of the murder of Mario Diaz, stemming from a shooting outside a Providence nightclub in 2021.

On Jan. 17, following the conclusion of a seven-day jury trial before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, a jury found Miguel Lacourt, 38, of Johnston, guilty of one count of second-degree murder, one count of discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence resulting in death, and one count of carrying a pistol without a license. The defendant was acquitted on the same counts for a second victim stemming from the same incident, Kenwins Pimentel, according to a press release from Neronha’s office.

Lacourt is currently being held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) pending a sentencing hearing to be scheduled later.

“These days, lives are lost to gun violence so often that it’s difficult not to become numb to such tragedy,” Neronha said. “While that response is understandable, we must continue to fight for commonsense gun laws and enforcement and avoid complacency. This victim, and countless others, would still be alive if not for the availability of firearms to those ready and willing to use them for violence. I hope this verdict provides some measure of peace for the victim’s family. And thank you to the Providence Police for their consistent commitment to seeking justice for the victims of violent crime.”

During the trial, the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant shot and killed the victim following a dispute at a Providence lounge, according to the AG.

“In the early morning hours of Aug. 7, 2021, the defendant and two friends attended Fuego Lounge on West Friendship Street in Providence,” according to the press release. “Video surveillance from inside the lounge depicted the defendant as having long dreadlocks, two distinct tattoos, and wearing a red Cincinnati Reds hat and Motorsport sneakers. At some point, the defendant and his friend exit the nightclub and proceed to linger outside. Outside the nightclub, the defendant and another individual began an argument that then turned physical. The defendant attempted to restrain one of the people involved but got punched and kicked to the ground. The defendant eventually freed himself from the altercation and walked off towards Elmwood Avenue. Approximately 90 seconds later, the defendant returned with a gun and shot the victim.”

According to the prosecution, “investigators recovered several items from the crime scene, including a strand of hair, a Cincinnati Reds hat and a Motorsport brand sneaker, items which were identified as belonging to the defendant in the video surveillance footage.”

The investigators ultimately sent the items to the Forensic Biology Lab at the Rhode Island Department of Health, along with a known buccal swab of the defendant. The defendant’s DNA profile matched the profiles extracted from all four items, according to the AG’s office. Investigators also matched still frames from the video surveillance footage of the defendant’s tattoos to booking photos of the defendant from a prior arrest.

“I commend the outstanding work conducted by Providence Police and the Attorney General’s Office for bringing this defendant to justice,” said Providence Police Colonel Oscar L. Perez Jr. “My heart goes out the family and friends of the victim and hope the outcome of this case gives them some semblance of peace.”

Assistant Attorney General Scott Erickson, Special Assistant Attorney General Ariel Pittner and Providence Police Detective Mitchel Guerra led the prosecution and investigation of the case.


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