PROVIDENCE, RI — Troy Gunderway, 46, of Warwick, pleaded guilty today to the Aug. 1, 2015 murder of “Captain Fredy,” Fernando Silva, 70, and also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit robbery before Superior Court Justice Brian P. Stern.
RI Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced the plea, under which Gunderway will be sentenced at a later date. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Warwick Police charged Gunderway, of 82 Church Ave., Warwick, and Richard Baribault, 40, of 20 Messer St., Warwick, with first degree murder and conspiracy in the murder. Baribault was also charged with receiving stolen goods and possession of weapons other than firearms. The latter charge was for possession of a knife longer than three inches, unrelated to the murder.
Fernando Silva, 70, “Captain Fredy” to locals, officially missing since Aug. 1, 2015, was found dead on his sailboat in the water near the end of Randall Avenue Aug. 15, 2015 by the harbormaster, Jeff Barris.
Silva was well known among locals, and described by The Warwick Beacon as a sea-faring nomad and author of “The Blessed Voyage.”
Gunderway and Baribault had apparently learned of Silva’s recent Keno lottery winnings of several hundred dollars and conspired to assault and rob him, which they did on Aug. 2, injuring and killing him, police reported.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on the evening of July 31, 2015, Gunderway and Richard Baribault learned that Captain Freddy had earlier won several hundred dollars playing Keno, according to Kilmartin’s office.
The two drove to the marina where Fredy lived on his boat and boarded the vessel. Fredy, who was asleep at the time, awoke to noises and found Gunderway and Baribault in the cabin of the boat. Baribault struck Fredy in the face several times. Gunderway then restrained Fredy by holding him in a head lock for several minutes while Baribault searched the boat for Fredy’s winnings.
During the assault, Baribault forcefully held a pocket knife to Freddy’s neck and stomach demanding the money and kicked Freddy several times throughout the assault and robbery. Captain Freddy died as a result of the blunt force trauma he sustained during the violent attack, according to Kilmartin’s office.
The men then attempted several times to hide their crime. On one occasion, they attempted to move the boat but the motor failed. They returned later in the day with a new motor, but it too failed to start. On another occasion, they brought a cooler containing bleach, a cinder block, and rope to the boat and cleaned the boat using the bleach.
On Aug. 4, 2015 Baribault and Gunderway returned to the boat where they were able to start the original motor. Gunderway piloted the boat to a scenic overlook area of Warwick Cove, dropped anchor, and abandoned the vessel. He used the dinghy to row to shore, where he was picked up by Baribault.
A few days later, Baribault and Gunderway realized that the boat had moved from the location where it was moored. After a search of Warwick Cove, they located the boat in the spot where the body was eventually located by Harbormaster Jeff Barris.
The case against Baribault is pending.
Warwick Police Detective Sgt. Mark Canning and Lt. Scott Robillard led the investigation and Special Assistant Attorney General Timothy Healy and Special Assistant Attorney General Matthew LaMountain prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.
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