TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Arnold barber convicted of first-degree murder of New Kensington man

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Submitted
Raymond 'Rico' Rivera of Arnold was convicted of fatally shooting John L. Evans in New Kensington in October 2011. Rivera was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.

Daily Photo Galleries

Westmoreland Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, 6:04 p.m.
 

Some jurors cried as a first-degree murder conviction was announced in a Westmoreland County courtroom Saturday morning against an Arnold barber who gunned down a New Kensington man in a dispute over a woman.

Raymond Rivera, a 37-year-old barber, showed no emotion as the verdict was returned at 1:30 a.m. to Judge Rita Hathaway, ending a five-day trial.

Rivera, who testified he shot in self-defense, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

The verdict, returned after 6 12 hours of deliberations, brought tears to friends of the victim, John Evans, 37, of New Kensington.

He was shot twice on Oct. 20, 2011, and bled to death in the parking lot of Central City Plaza in New Kensington, according to testimony. One bullet pierced his neck, severing his jugular vein.

Rivera, who will be formally sentenced in about three months, also was convicted of attempted murder for shooting Willie Young, 42, of New Kensington, a friend of Evans, who was hit by two bullets, one in the arm and one in the leg.

Jurors found Rivera guilty of two counts of aggravated assault and illegally possessing a firearm after a conviction 20 years ago for a robbery in Reading.

Rivera testified on Friday he feared for his life, but the jury of seven men and five women rejected that claim.

“This is without a doubt a textbook case of deliberate, intentional murder,” Assistant District Attorney Larry Koenig said.

The woman at the center of the dispute, April Cevario, 45, showed no reaction to the verdict. Evans had claimed to have an affair with Cevario, who was Rivera's girlfriend. She denied having the affair.

She testified Evans had a gun and threatened to kill her and Rivera.

Police found Evans' cellphone but no gun near his body, according to testimony.

During deliberations, jurors returned to court to listen to a 911 call from an employee of Family Dollar, who described the shooting in detail as she hid inside the store. Jurors viewed again surveillance tape taken from nearby cameras that showed Rivera driving away from the plaza.

“I really didn't want to do it. I was forced to,” Rivera testified. “I see him pull the gun out, and he turns around and comes at me with a gun pointed towards me, so I just pulled the trigger.”

Defense attorneys Chris Haidze and Jack Mandarino contended that Rivera should have been acquitted.

“Raymond Rivera was in fear,” Mandarino told jurors.

Rivera, a barber, worked in a shop across the street from a New Kensington clothing store where Evans worked, and the two had been feuding for months, the defense contended.

Rivera, a former professional boxer who was born in Puerto Rico, told jurors he feared Evans, a New York City native, and his friends.

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

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Westmoreland torture-slaying convict Smyrnes says death row isolation too cruel
  2. Sutersville ready to sell former church
  3. Extremes in weather hurt crops in Westmoreland
  4. Hempfield murderer serving life sentence promises restitution when he’s released
  5. Man charged with hitting girlfriend with car in East Huntingdon reaches plea agreement
  6. Police: Scottdale man had child porn on computer
  7. Scottdale chamber’s Community Yard Sale to be held Saturday
  8. Sewickley Twp. man who received food stamps didn’t disclose gas royalties
  9. More than 100 stamp bags confiscated in Greensburg; 4 arrested
  10. Hempfield cyclist to cool wheels in jail during appeal
  11. Hempfield joins county land bank