PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – An East Providence man accused of killing his 41-year-old girlfriend tried to convince police that she was hit by a car before being charged with the crime, police said.
Allen J. Hanson, 31, was ordered to be held without bail after being formally charged with domestic first-degree murder in connection with the death of Jennifer Silva.
According to police, officers were called to 85 Warren Ave. around 4 a.m. Saturday for a report of a person struck by a car. Hanson made the 911 call.
East Providence Police Lt. Raymond Blinn said officers found no evidence that Silva was hit by a car, and received conflicting reports from Hanson about where she was killed.
“Officers on scene were very suspicious of his statements right off the bat,” said Blinn.
Blinn said city detectives determined Silva’s severe injuries came from a domestic violence altercation with Hanson, but declined to comment on what he did to cause them.
“Her injuries and loss of life were a direct result of his actions,” Blinn added. He said Hanson and Silva had been living together at the Warren Avenue address.
A spokesperson for the Rhode Island Medical Examiner’s office said Monday that Silva’s cause of death is still pending.
Hanson’s court record shows a history of criminal behavior, including a previous felony domestic assault charge out of Westerly in 2005. Police said the victim in that case was a different girlfriend, and Hanson used brass knuckles in the assault. He was sentenced to 10 years with 30 months to serve in 2010.
“Domestic homicide is sometimes one of the most preventable offenses that we have,” Lt. Blinn said. “Early warning signs, the cycle of violence continues.”
Police say they have no documented reports of abuse between Hanson and Silva, but are investigating whether there was a history of abuse in the relationship.
Deborah DeBare, the executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said the murder is just the latest reason why the state needs to do more to monitor offenders with patterns of domestic abuse.
“Domestic violence murder is rarely an isolated incident, but is often the final act in a pattern of abuse that has escalated over time,” DeBare wrote in a statement. “Although we cannot comment on the specifics of this case, we do know that Allen Hanson has a history of committing domestic violence crimes. Rhode Island must do more to hold dangerous abusers accountable.”
Hanson did not enter a plea at his arraignment.