BRIDGEPORT JURY FINDS NEW YORK MAN GUILTY OF FEDERAL MURDER CHARGES
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury in Bridgeport has found ANDREW ZAYAC, 31, of Scarsdale, New York, guilty of federal murder and other offenses in connection with the February 8, 2009, kidnap and murder of Edward Rivera, 37, of the Bronx, New York. The trial began on July 14 and the jury returned the verdicts this afternoon.
“I want to commend the excellent work by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Danbury Police Department and the United States Marshals Service who investigated this matter and have helped to provide justice for the victim’s family and loved ones,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, in early 2009, ZAYAC negotiated the purchase of 68 pounds of marijuana from Edward Rivera. ZAYAC and Rivera arranged to meet on February 8, 2009, to complete the transaction. On that date, ZAYAC kidnapped Rivera from the Bronx for the purpose of robbing him of the marijuana. During the course of the kidnapping and robbery, Rivera was shot twice and died as a result of the gunshot wounds. ZAYAC and his associate, Heriberto Gonzalez, 31, also of the Bronx, then dumped Rivera’s body in Danbury, Connecticut, drove back to the Bronx and burned ZAYAC’s car.
On February 28, 2009, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at ZAYAC’s residence and seized approximately 61 pounds of marijuana. ZAYAC was arrested at that time.
Today the jury found ZAYAC guilty of one count of kidnapping resulting in death, one count of murder during the commission of a robbery, one count of interference with commerce through the use of violence, one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, one count of conspiracy to use or possess a firearm in furtherance of crimes of violence and a narcotics trafficking offense, three counts of destruction/concealment of evidence, and one count of conspiracy to destroy/conceal evidence. The jury found ZAYAC not guilty of one count of premeditated murder.
United States District Judge Janet C. Hall has scheduled sentencing for October 7, 2011, at which time ZAYAC faces a mandatory term of imprisonment of life on the murder charges.
On June 21, 2011, after a separate trial, a jury found Gonzalez guilty of one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, three counts of destruction/concealment of evidence, and one count of conspiracy to destroy/conceal evidence. He awaits sentencing.
ZAYAC has been detained since his arrest. Gonzalez was arrested on June 17, 2009, and is also detained.
This matter has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Danbury Police Department and the United States Marshals Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael J. Gustafson and Brian P. Leaming.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT:
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE