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November 27, 2013

Police paid shooting victim to testify

According to grand jury testimony David Rivera never testified about street killing

(Continued)

Welch held a hearing that did not include the jury to consider the revelation Rivera was paid and decided to exclude Rivera because the police payment to him in exchange for his testimony was not disclosed, Ranta said.

No information was presented either way as to whether any of Rivera’s brothers or friends also were paid for their testimony, Ranta said.

Justin Prescott, a Haverhill resident who was the jury foreman in the case, said the testimony the Riveras and their friends gave had little weight in the jurors’ deliberations because of a confrontation between Jamie Rivera and Cruz earlier in 2007 over Cruz selling drugs on Farnham Street.

He said the jury did not know about the police payment to David Rivera. “We didn’t hear that in court. It would have been useful,” he said.

Former Lawrence Police Chief John Romero, who led the department at the time, said he did not know about the payment, including where the money came from and whether there was an inquiry into the matter.

“I don’t think it happens a lot,” Romero said. “But confidential informants are paid from time to time.” Romero said he did not know whether Rivera was a confidential informant.

Rivera was shot multiple times outside the Sahara Club in Methuen early in the morning on Oct. 23. Police and the district attorney’s office are still investigating, and Kimball Monahan declined to comment on whether Rivera’s paid testimony was part of that investigation.

Investigators believe Rivera and his killer were in the Sahara Club, which was rented out by a member for a private party the night of Oct. 22, before the shooting. William Amann, an attorney for the Sahara, said the club turned over surveillance video of that night to police.

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