Sunday, May 19, 2024

Richelle A. Robinson, 15, in a photo shared by family.

Isaias Plaza, 20, of Boston, a longtime suspect in the 2018 death of Richelle Robinson, pleaded guilty last week to manslaughter in connection with that death, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Cambridge police commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr. announced Thursday.

Plaza in a picture provided in 2017 by Natick police.

Judge Laurence Pierce sentenced Plaza to 2½ years in the House of Correction, with two years to serve and the balance of his sentence suspended for five years. Upon release, Plaza is ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and submit to follow-up treatment; undergo a substance abuse evaluation, not use drugs and to submit to random screens; and to seek and maintain employment or continue education.

The charges are in connection with the July 22, 2018, incident at Cambridge and Warren streets, in the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood. Police responded there at approximately 6:30 p.m. on reports of a girl who had been shoved to the ground, finding the victim unresponsive and bleeding. She was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 2:45 p.m. the next day. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said she was killed by blunt force trauma.

The victim had been walking to a friend’s house when she encountered Plaza, police said. Witnesses at the time described a man fleeing by bike, wearing jeans and black sneakers with white soles – clothes Plaza burned to avoid being connected to the death of the victim, according to investigators from Cambridge and state police assigned to the District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators said Richelle and Plaza had shared a group of friends, but Plaza had a falling out with them in the weeks before the attack on Robinson, a girl described by her family as fun-loving and hoping to someday become an EMT. Plaza, a Natick native, was identified as being homeless for at least three months in 2017.

Plaza was indicted in July 2019 by a Middlesex Superior Court Grand Jury.