EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 13, 2012

Mistrial declared in 2011 Lawrence drug murder case

LAWRENCE — After a nearly two weeks, the first degree murder trial of Erick Rivera, 21, ended late yesterday morning in a mistrial.

Early next year, however, Rivera will be headed back to court for to discuss his re-trial date.

At 11:45 a.m. yesterday, jurors in Lawrence Superior Court reported to Judge Richard Welch they were deadlocked in Rivera’s case. He faced life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Rivera, of 174 Osgood St., Lawrence was arrested in late August 2011 and charged with the murder of Christopher Fischer, 33, of Reading.

Rivera is accused of shooting Fischer after he allegedly pulled a knife on him during a drug deal in a parking lot on South Union Street, police said.

The case opened on Monday Dec. 3 and went to the jury a week later on Monday, Dec. 10, according to information provided by the district attorney’s office.

While the jury was deadlocked, Rivera was taken back into custody yesterday. A trial assignment date was set for Jan. 15. in Salem Superior Court, authorities said.

When he was arrested, police said Fischer was trying to rip off Rivera when he was killed.

Fischer, at the wheel of his Honda Accord, and another man had driven to Lawrence to buy drugs from Rivera, a man they referred to as “Mexico,” according to police report.

After Fischer brought the drugs from “Mexico,” Fischer then pulled a knife on him. “Mexico,” believed to be Rivera, was accused of getting out of the car, brandishing a gun and shooting Fischer once in the chest, police said.

After the shooting, the other man told police he and Fischer fled the scene, with Fischer still driving. But near 603 S.Union St., with Fischer showing signs of distress, the other man pulled the emergency brake and stopped the car, according to police reports.

He pulled open the door, allowing Fischer to fall out onto the pavement. As he drove away, the man drove over Fischer’s legs.

Minutes later, Fischer was pronounced dead at Lawrence General Hospital.

His Honda Accord was found abandoned near his Reading home later that night, police said.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

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