Johnston man sentenced to serve life in prison for 2021 nightclub murder

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Johnston man has been sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve life in prison at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) for the 2021 murder of 27-year-old Mario Diaz.


At a hearing on April 22, 2024, Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause sentenced Miguel Lacourt (age 39) to 60 years in prison, with a consecutive life sentence at the ACI. On January 17, 2024, following the conclusion of a seven-day trial, a jury found the defendant 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.


“Mario Diaz is one of many victims that would still be alive if not for the availability of firearms to those ready and willing to use them for violence,” said Attorney General Neronha. “We must continue to fight for commonsense gun laws and enforcement to avoid such tragedies. I hope this sentencing provides some closure for the victim’s family and I thank the Providence Police for their commitment to seeking justice on behalf of the victims of violent crime.”


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


In the early morning hours of August 7, 2021, the defendant and two friends attended Fuego Lounge on West Friendship Street in Providence. 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 exited the nightclub and lingered outside. While 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.


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. Investigators 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.

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 the men and women of the Providence Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office for bringing this defendant to justice,” said Providence Police Colonel Oscar L. Perez, Jr. “Gun violence in our communities must be stopped at all costs. The family and friends of this victim, and all victims of gun violence, are in my thoughts today and every day.”


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