Arnold barber convicted of first-degree murder of New Kensington man
By Rich Cholodofsky
Published: 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 61⁄2 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 email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Husband to stand trial in Derry middle school teacher’s murder
- Mt. Pleasant to save with energy-efficient lighting
- Scottdale center to host tribute to singing legends
- Latrobe couple charged with shoving guard, stealing from Wal-Mart
- 4 Franklin Regional students remain hospitalized for stab wounds
- Youngwood woman charged with selling heroin in Greensburg hospital
- Lt. governor to speak at Westmoreland County GOP’s Reagan dinner
- Failed inspection could make Jeannette flood-control project more costly
- Westmoreland County shared ride program sees drop in usage
- Norvelt man’s art on display at Seton Hill University’s gallery
- None injured when car strikes school bus in Derry Township