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Merrimack Valley

January 16, 2013

Man charged with witness intimidation held on $100K

LAWRENCE — The man arrested Monday and charged with intimidating two murder trial witnesses was ordered held on $100,000 cash in Lawrence District Court yesterday.

Jose Davilla, 25, of 13 Cedar St., was arraigned yesterday on charges he and another man, Rafael Rodriguez, 22, posted threatening pictures of two murder trial witnesses on the photo-sharing website Instagram over the weekend.

Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said Davilla also was held on a probation violation. He cannot post the cash and be released until the probation violation is resolved, she said, and is still in jail.

District Court Judge Michael Brooks issued a stay-away order to Davilla covering to anyone involved in the recent murder trial of Jose Ruiz, 28.

His next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Chief John Romero said police are still looking for Rodriguez.

Lawrence and State Police searched Davilla’s apartment Monday morning, when they arrested him, and Rodriguez’ apartment at 28 Juniper St., #1, shortly thereafter. Rodriguez was not at home and is still at large, Romero said, but police seized a revolver, ammunition, computers and portable storage drives.

Davilla and Rodriguez are accused of posting pictures of two witnesses in the murder trial of Ruiz, who was convicted of murder Monday and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for the 2009 killing of Rolando Fuentes of Methuen in a strip mall parking lot on Broadway in Lawrence. Fuentes’ death led his brother Orlando Fuentes to shoot a relative of Ruiz in the neck less than an hour later on Willow Street.

Orlando Fuentes pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2011, to armed assault to murder, home invasion and illegal possession of a firearm for the shooting at the Ruiz house, and was sentenced to seven to eight years in state prison.

Anyone with information on Rodriguez’ whereabouts is urged to call Lawrence Police at 978-794-5900. The identity of callers and witnesses will be kept confidential, Romero said.

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