Bristol woman sentenced to 35 years in state prison for murdering her boyfriend’s grandmother
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that a Bristol woman has been sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to 35 years at the Adult Corrections Institutions (ACI) for the 2017 murder of her boyfriend’s 62-year-old grandmother, Eudora Gustafson.
On January 31, 2024, Superior Court Justice Stephen P. Nugent sentenced Selena Martinez (age 28) to a 60-year full sentence, with 35 years to serve, and $603 in restitution. On January 19, 2024, the defendant entered a guilty plea to one count of second-degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, four counts of receiving stolen goods (less than $1,500), one count of forgery, and one count of obtaining property under false pretenses (less than $1,500).
On September 21, 2023, codefendant Raymond Paiva IV (age 30) entered a guilty plea to one count of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, four counts of receiving stolen goods (less than $1,500), two counts of forgery, and one count of obtaining property under false pretenses (less than $1,500). At a hearing on October 3, 2023, Judge Nugent sentenced the defendant to a 60-year full sentence, with 40 years to serve at the ACI, and the balance of 20 years suspended with 60 years of probation.
“Tragedies like these are particularly tough to comprehend,” said Attorney General Neronha. “The defendant is a deeply troubled woman who senselessly murdered and robbed her boyfriend’s grandmother to obtain money to buy drugs, and the victim’s family is left to pick up the pieces. I hope the sentence imposed by the court gives the victim’s loved ones some closure, and I hope the defendant gets the help she needs in prison. I am grateful to the Bristol Police Department for their outstanding work and partnership during the investigation and prosecution of this case.”
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on February 10, 2017, the defendant killed Eudora Gustafson by asphyxiation, before robbing her in an attempt to get money for drugs.
During the afternoon of February 10, the defendant was with her boyfriend at his grandparents’ home on Sowams Drive in Bristol. The evidence showed that she had recently used heroin and wanted money to purchase additional heroin.
At approximately 3:15 p.m., Paiva’s grandfather left the house to go to work, while Mrs. Gustafson remained on the couch in the first floor living room. Shortly thereafter, the defendant attacked Mrs. Gustafson in an attempt to gain access to the keys to her car.
The defendant restrained the victim while she and Paiva attacked her with a pillow and covered her head with a trash bag with the drawstring drawn tightly around her neck.
The defendant then took Mrs. Gustafson’s rings, additional jewelry from a bedroom safe, half-dollar coins, and her checkbook, before fleeing in her car.
At approximately 7:00 p.m., the defendant pawned Mrs. Gustafson’s jewelry at a pawn shop in North Providence, and then bought heroin at a location in Providence. The defendant was apprehended by the Providence Police Department shortly thereafter.
DNA evidence collected from the victim and the trash bag matched the defendant’s DNA.
“The Bristol Police Department works tirelessly to hold accountable those who perpetrate senseless acts of violence in order to keep our communities safe,” said Bristol Police Chief Kevin M. Lynch. “I am grateful for the hard work of our detectives and officers, as well as the Attorney General’s Office throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case.”
Assistant Attorney General John Moreira and Special Assistant Attorney General David Bonzagni of the Office of the Attorney General and Lieutenant Steven St. Pierre, and Detectives John Nappi, Adam Clifford, and Timothy Kearns of the Bristol Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of this case.