By Amanda Milkovits and Mark Reynolds, The Providence Journal
Two men were found bound and shot to death midday Wednesday, one in Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood and the other at the edge of Lincoln Woods State Park.
The police say the murders, discovered within hours of each other, don’t appear to be connected. But there are unusual similarities.
The man found in the trunk of an abandoned sedan near Sunset Stables in Lincoln Woods had been restrained when he was shot “execution-style.” And the young man who stumbled, fatally shot to die on the sidewalk of bustling Broadway in Providence, had broken handcuffs attached to both wrists.
Anthony Stone, 26, out on bail on charges of dealing cocaine, was identified as the man who died in Providence, making him the fifth person murdered in the city this year. Providence Detective Lt. Robert Lepre said Wednesday night that Stone’s killing “is not a random act.”
The state police did not release the identity of the man found in Lincoln Woods, pending notification of his family.
The circumstances behind both murders were under investigation.
The first was discovered by happenstance Wednesday morning, when a caretaker at Lincoln Woods noticed a silver sedan parked in a driveway between the stables and gatehouse, said state police Col. Steven O’Donnell.
The caretaker left a note on the car at 6 a.m., warning the owner to have the vehicle moved, O’Donnell said. The car and note were still there four hours later. By 10:30 a.m., the caretaker called state police.
A trooper examined the car and noticed blood on the rear bumper, O’Donnell said. “In an abundance of caution, not knowing if someone was injured with life-threatening injuries, we opened the trunk and found this male who had been executed,” O’Donnell said.
The dead man’s hands were bound behind his back, and he appeared to have been shot several times in the head, O’Donnell said. A witness told investigators about hearing several gunshots, O’Donnell said without elaborating. As to whether the police had found shell casings or a gun, O’Donnell said: “We’ll just leave that all alone for the time being.”
The car was hauled away on a flatbed truck for an extensive forensic examination. The shady driveway where the car was found provides a short turnaround off Twin River Road and connects to a circular drive to the home of the park’s caretaker.
The driveway is just outside the park’s main entrance, where visitors frequently hike trails.
Just a few minutes before 1 p.m. in Providence, Anthony Stone staggered out of a century-old Victorian on Broadway and collapsed face-up on the front steps and sidewalk. His head was bleeding and he appeared to have been shot multiple times. Broken plastic handcuffs ringed his wrists.
Stone lived on the second floor of the Victorian at 372 Broadway, but investigators found evidence that he’d been injured in the vacant rooms on the first floor, Lepre said. Investigators revealed little else about the scene inside the apartment house. There was no description of a gunman or how the assailant escaped.
Stone died in full view of the usual mid-afternoon busy-ness of this section of Broadway — across from a chiropractor’s office and a wellness clinic, next door to law offices, and barely a block away from where people sat at café tables outside a coffee house.
His two pit bulls ran loose from the house and evaded attempts by the police to capture them. While animal control lassoed one dog, the other ran free down Broadway, darting over to attack another pit bull on a leash outside Broadway Liquors. The fighting dogs tumbled inside the store, where the leashed dog whimpered as it was bitten, until Stone’s dog was dragged away.
Onlookers said they recognized Stone from the neighborhood, and often saw him walking his two pit bulls on Broadway or heading to the corner convenience store. A friend wailed in shock from the steps of a house next door.
Stone had come to Providence from New Jersey several years ago. Records at Johnson & Wales University showed that he’d attended the school, but didn’t graduate, according to spokeswoman Lisa Pelosi.
Stone was arrested by Providence police on April 1 on two counts of dealing cocaine. He was held at the Adult Correctional Institutions until he made bail on May 13, according to the Department of Corrections.
The police said they were sure Stone was targeted for a reason. But his killer and the motive behind Stone’s death were still being determined.