Through her attorney, Donna Silvia asked a judge to sentence her to serve 5 to 7 1/2 years in state prison for the case where a man had his finger cut off over a financial dispute.
Silvia, 51, was convicted of mayhem and assault charges following a two-day trial earlier this month in Fall River Superior Court. On Dec. 22, she was sentenced by Judge E. Susan Garsh to serve 10 years in prison.
Before her sentencing, Silvia’s attorney filed paperwork requesting the shorter sentence, noting that before she was charged in the 2012 case, she virtually had no prior criminal history and in fact cooperated with police investigating the incident.
Since the mayhem case was filed, Silvia, according to the filing, has been charged with about seven counts of animal cruelty arising out of her alleged placement of various animals at a notorious tenant farm in Westport, where hundreds of animals were found earlier this year in various states of ill health or deceased.
As is normal with these kind of filings, the pre-sentencing document included biographical information on Silvia to help the judge decide on the appropriate sentence.
According to the filing, Silvia is a lifelong Fall River resident who briefly lived in Westport. She incorporated her towing company, Columbia Towing Services – the now-defunct business where the mayhem occurred – which served as her family’s primary source of income until it closed in 2013.
After Silvia’s indictment, the Fall River Police Department removed her business from the department’s list of approved towing companies.
After closing Columbia Towing, Silvia worked as a personal care attendant for her mother, receiving about $400 a week from the state. She also drew some income from real estate holdings, but that took a hit following her 2012 indictment, with at least two parcels of land in foreclosure proceedings. Now that she is incarcerated, her lawyer said it is likely the rest of her real estate holdings will go into foreclosure.
The Fall River Police Department began investigating the March 28, 2012, incident at Columbia Towing after a confidential informant notified detectives that an employee there was being tortured and held against his will. The victim at first told police he lost his finger in an accident, but the ensuing investigation developed the joint venture case against Silvia and her codefendants.
Questioned by police, Silvia told detectives that a codefendant, Jonathan Soares, cut off the man’s finger, and her statement was instrumental in police arresting Soares early the next morning, according to court documents.