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Merrimack Valley

January 16, 2013

Two arraigned after murder in Lawrence over heroin ripoff

SALEM, Mass. — Two men accused of murdering a Lowell man over an alleged drug ripoff were formally arraigned on murder charges yesterday in Salem Superior Court.

Jose “Junior” Rivera, 32, of 176 Farnham St., Lawrence and Albert “Gordo” Vazquez, 18, of 22 Camden St., Methuen, remain held without bail after their arraignments on first degree murder charges.

Rivera and Vazquez are accused of murdering Martin Angelone Butt, 27, at Union and Brook streets in Lawrence on Sept. 9, 2012 as retribution for a previous heroin robbery.

Butt allegedly stole $1,500 of heroin from Rivera on Labor Day weekend, according to a report by Trooper Joshua Ulrich.

Both were arraigned in Lawrence District Court on Oct. 23. However, Rivera and Vazquez were later indicted by the Essex County Grand Jury, triggering yesterday’s arraignments in Salem.

Enraged over being robbed, Rivera said “that Marty kid’s (expletive) dead,” according to Ulrich’s report.

Shot in the head and chest, Butt was pronounced dead at Lawrence General Hospital less than hour after police found him in a pool of blood near 121 Union St. that Sunday.

A knife and 8mm blank firing pistol were found next to Butt’s body. A hypodermic syringe was later found in his pants pocket, according to a police report.

Immediately after Butt’s murder, Stephanie Jo Coleman, 22, and Christopher Ansara, 27, both of 96 Ashland Ave., Methuen were charged with delivering Butt to his murder in exchange for four bags of heroin. They were charged with being accessories before the fact of murder and both held on $25,000 bail.

A half dozen of Butt’s relatives and friends were in court yesterday for the arraignments. Wearing white T-shirts with a design in Butt’s memory, they sat with a victim witness advocate in the courtroom and also met with Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Kirshenbaum, who is prosecuting the murder cases.

Rivera’s defense attorney is Rosemary Curran Scapicchio while Vazquez is being represented by attorney James McCall, according to court records.

Rivera and Vazquez are due back in court on Feb. 12 for a pre-trial conference.

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

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