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1st trial in Worcester gang slaying gets underway

January 20, 2016

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — The trial of the first of five people charged in connection with a gang-related slaying in Worcester has started.

Rafael Rivera faces a murder charge in the September 2011 shooting death of Juan Melendez. Prosecutors say although Rivera did not pull the trigger, he was a joint venture in the shooting death of Melendez.

Prosecutors on Tuesday told jurors in Worcester Superior Court that Melendez had been a member of the Vice Lords gang, while Rivera and his co-defendants were affiliated with the Kilby Street Posse gang.

Melendez had completed a 16-year federal prison sentence shortly before he was slain.

The Telegram & Gazette (http://bit.ly/1PgVdqg) reports that Rivera’s attorney said although his client was present when Melendez was shot, he did not know his co-defendants’ intention to shoot the victim.

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