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Press Release

Robert Pizarro And Juan Rivera Sentenced To Life In Prison For The Kidnapping And Murder Of A Federal Cooperating Witness

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ROBERT PIZARRO and JUAN RIVERA were sentenced today for the attempted robbery, kidnapping, and murder of federal cooperating witness Robert Bishun on September 20, 2016.  PIZARRO was also sentenced for his role in an earlier 2015 robbery attempt.  PIZARRO, 39, of the Bronx, received a sentence of life in prison plus 14 years.  RIVERA, 42, also of the Bronx, was sentenced to life in prison plus seven years.  PIZARRO and RIVERA were convicted by a jury following a twelve-day trial before U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, who imposed today’s sentence.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As the evidence at trial established, the defendants viciously kidnapped and murdered Robert Bishun because he was a federal cooperating witness.  While we cannot undo the terrible acts committed by these defendants, we firmly believe that today’s sentences further the cause of justice.  We thank the DEA, NYPD, and the Special Agents of our Office for their extraordinary and tireless efforts in pursuit of justice.”

According to the evidence introduced at trial:

On September 20, 2016, PIZARRO and RIVERA attempted to rob Robert Bishun at gunpoint inside his auto body shop in the Bronx, during which two customers in his shop were bound with zip ties and locked in the trunks of separate vehicles inside the shop.  Upon learning during the robbery that Bishun was a federal cooperating witness, PIZARRO and RIVERA kidnapped Bishun from his shop and strangled him to death with a plastic zip tie, before abandoning Bishun’s body in the back of his own vehicle on the side of the road.

On a prior occasion, in January 2015, PIZARRO and another accomplice stormed into Bishun’s auto body shop and robbed Robert Bishun at gunpoint, taking approximately $10,000 in cash from Bishun.  During the course of the robbery, two customers were bound with zip ties.

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Mr. Berman praised the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York City Police Department, and the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Swergold, Jessica Fender, Jared Lenow, and Margaret Graham are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated July 30, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-241