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Merrimack Valley

October 4, 2012

Murder of food delivery man goes to jury


In her closing argument, Cahill pointed to prosecution witness Charlene Rios who admitted she was smoking pot the day Nguyen was assaulted.

She also said, “Rios couldn’t remember testifying before the grand jury and she wasn’t even high that day,” Cahill said. “She is not believable and she is not truthful ... No one could believe her beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Cahill also said prosecutors never showed Ramos had any intent to rob Nguyen.

“It’s not enough to merely be present at the scene of a crime. There has to be shared intent,” she said.

“There is no evidence of any plan, any interaction any discussion between these two people,” Cahill said, motioning towards Lopez and Ramos. She added there was no evidence “they even knew each other.”

Jeruchim in her closing argument lashed out at police, saying the detective work in the case was shoddy and witnesses were intimidated and threatened. Police, she said, never had the food order slip on the food bag taken from Nguyen tested for fingerprints.

State Trooper Robert Labarge, a lead detective in the case, did not “engage in polite conversation” with witnesses. “He said, ‘If you don’t tell me what I want to hear you’re going to be in trouble,’” Jeruchim said. “Trooper Labarge needed to put somebody at the scene,” she added.

Jeruchim also said the “big pink elephant in the room” was the fact the call to the Evergreen Restaurant that night, for the Chinese food, was not made with a phone belonging to Lopez or Ramos - but another man.

“You can’t make that pink elephant go away,” she said.

Prosecutor James Gubitose started his closing argument saying simply, “They robbed him and he killed him.”

The reluctance of witnesses to testify in a criminal proceeding is part of “the society of Lawrence,” Gubitose said.

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