EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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June 6, 2013

Jury convicts Lawrence man of first-degree murder

LAWRENCE — Alberto Vazquez was convicted yesterday of the first-degree murder of 24-year-old Julian Melendez, who was shot in the neck nearly three years ago.

The penalty for first-degree murder is life in prison without the possibility of parole. Vazquez, 29, formerly of 189 Arlington St., will be formally sentenced in Lawrence Superior Court this morning.

On Friday, June 18, Melendez was found shot in the neck and bleeding in front of 391 Lowell St. around 2 a.m.

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital tried to save Melendez by performing surgery to remove the bullet in his neck. But Melendez was left brain dead and was eventually removed from life support.

Five months after Melendez died, Vazquez was charged with his murder. No other suspect was previously identified.

The first-degree murder trial started in Lawrence Superior Court on May 28.

Melendez was the second oldest of eight children and was the father of two young boys. A 2004 graduate of Greater Lawrence Technical School, Melendez had worked in an auto detail shop and at a McDonald’s, family members said.

A woman who was with Melendez before he was shot told police he was a crack cocaine dealer. She said before he was shot, the two were driving on Margin Street when their car was cut off by a white car. A man got out of the car and tried to attack Melendez, but they were able to get away, she told police.

She also said Melendez met with “other gangbangers” before he walked toward Lowell Street and was shot that morning.

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

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