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Testimony: Murder victim bled to death in New Kensington parking lot

| Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

John Evans bled to death on the concrete parking lot of a New Kensington strip mall because a bullet cut his jugular vein nearly two years ago, an expert witness told a Westmoreland County jury Wednesday.

Dr. Cyril Wecht, a Pittsburgh forensic pathologist, testified in the third day of testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Raymond J. Rivera, 37, of Arnold.

Wecht said that the shot that killed Evans, 37, of New Kensington traveled straight through his neck.

“All I can say is the shot was fired from beyond 2 feet,” Wecht testified.

Rivera is accused of killing Evans in a jealous rage on Oct. 20, 2011, as the two men fought over a woman. Prosecutors contend that Rivera believed his girlfriend of 18 months had been cheating with Evans.

Prosecution witnesses said the fatal encounter started when Rivera's girlfriend and Evans started to yell at each other in the Central City Plaza parking lot. Rivera, who had driven up in his Cadillac, shot Evans twice, once in the thigh and the fatal shot to his neck, according to testimony.

Police said Rivera then turned his gun on Evans' cousin, Willie Young, and shot twice, hitting an arm and a leg as he fled into the Family Dollar store.

Rivera is charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Young, 42, of New Kensington.

New Kensington Detective Dino Digiacobbe testified surveillance video from street cameras at the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and the Ninth Street Bridge, a short distance away, showed Rivera's car running a red light as it left the plaza.

Jurors on Wednesday saw the surveillance video, recorded at about 8:50 p.m., just minutes after the shooting. It appeared to show Rivera's car running without headlights as it traveled across the bridge.

Rivera admitted to shooting the victims and led police to the area where he dumped the gun, according to the prosecution.

Defense attorneys will argue that Rivera shot in self-defense.

The prosecution is expected to complete its case when testimony resumes Thursday morning before Judge Rita Hathaway.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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