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Arnold killer receives life sentence

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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.
Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

An Arnold man told a judge on Thursday that he acted in self-defense two years ago when he shot and killed his romantic rival in a New Kensington strip mall.

“I had no choice. It was my life or his. The man pulled a gun. What was I supposed to do?” Raymond Rivera said just before he was sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Rivera, 37, following a week-long jury trial in July, was convicted of first-degree murder for fatally shooting 37-year-old John Evans of New Kensington on Oct. 20, 2011.

Rivera also was found guilty of aggravated assault for shooting Willie Young, 42, during the encounter at Central City Plaza.

During the trial, prosecutors contended that Rivera killed Evans because he suspected that he had a romantic relationship with his girlfriend.

Rivera contended that Evans brandished a gun during an argument and that he killed his rival in self-defense.

Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway told Rivera on Thursday that there was no evidence he was in danger from Evans.

“The jury did not believe there was any self-defense here,” Hathaway said. “It was jealousy — jealousy over a woman. Was this woman worth it?”

In addition to the life sentence, Hathaway ordered that Rivera serve up to 40 years in prison for shooting Young.

Prosecutors said Evans was shot twice; one round pierced his neck and severed his jugular vein.

Young was shot in the back as he ran from the scene.

During the trial, the defense claimed Evans and Rivera were in feud that had been simmering for months.

Rivera, a barber, worked in a shop across the street from a clothing store where Evans was employed in New Kensington. The two men got into an argument just hours before the shooting, according to the defense.

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

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