BRENTWOOD — A Massachusetts man was sentenced 13 to 26 years in state prison on Thursday morning for taking part in an armed home invasion in Windham and kidnapping a woman inside.
Judge Marguerite Wageling chided Luis Carvalho for storming the house on April 15, 2012, and threatening 19-year-old Samantha Gervais at gunpoint.
Carvalho, 33, of Taunton, Mass., and another man, who remains at large, searched for a safe inside the home after restraining Gervais.
“You engaged in a horrific crime and put a young lady in fear for her life,” Wageling said. “While you may not have left her with physical injuries, you left her with a lifelong injury, one that will probably never heal.”
A jury convicted Carvalho in January of burglary, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit burglary, being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon and criminal threatening. Some of the charges were enhanced because they were carried out while Carvalho used a firearm.
Gervais was asleep in bed when she was awoken to banging at the front door of her brother’s home around 12:30 a.m. She called 911 as the men were breaking in.
Carvalho fled the home in an SUV and crashed the vehicle in a wooded area nearby before he was arrested during a widespread search that included a police K-9 and a state police helicopter.
Public defender Larissa Kiers argued for a 6- to 12-year prison term, saying that Gervais was not physically injured during the burglary. During the trial, defense lawyers noted that Gervais’ brother had been arrested on drug charges.
Family members and Kiers pleaded for leniency, saying Carvalho was a well-respected person in his community and that his absence would have a severe impact on his young daughter and mother.
“No one is really more frustrated than Luis and his family over the poor decision he made,” Kiers said.
Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway argued that the men charged up the stairs at Gervais once they spotted her in the home. They forced her to the ground and pointed a gun at her.
“She testified on the stand that she thought she was going to die,” Conway said, recalling the trial. “She has had nightmares since this happened and she’s afraid to be alone at night.”
Conway said that Carvalho’s criminal history included a 2005 conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon in an incident where the victims were police officers. He also served a federal prison stint on drug charges.
She noted that Carvalho did appear to rehabilitate himself for a period of time, attending school and receiving good grades.
“Despite having those tools, he chose to commit this crime,” Conway said.