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2 Holyoke men plead not guilty to killing trooper’s father

May 27, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Two Holyoke men charged with killing the 71-year-old father of a Massachusetts State Police trooper earlier this year have been held without bail.

The suspects, 32-year-old Jose Villegas Rodriguez and 24-year-old Edward Gonzalez, pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and other charges in connection with the Jan. 25 shooting death of Juan Zayas in Springfield.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni described the victim as a “pillar” of his neighborhood.

No motive was disclosed, but Gulluni says the victim’s death was not related to his son’s law enforcement duties, and noted that the defendants also face armed robbery charges.

Authorities say they were led to the suspects when Villegas Rodriguez was questioned in an unrelated case and implicated himself and Gonzalez in Zayas’ death.

Their public defenders did not comment.

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