Stories written by Jo Ciavaglia, award-winning multimedia newspaper reporter at the Bucks County Courier Times in Bucks County, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pa.
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Monday, September 8, 2014
Cops: Bristol Twp. man shot brother-in-law to death after argument
Posted: Sunday, August 31, 2014
A 63-year-old Bristol Township man was jailed without bail Sunday afternoon, accused of shooting to death his brother-in-law — in front of a 7-year-old boy — after an argument during a family party.
William Rivera, crying and wearing a hospital gown, was video arraigned before Doylestown District Judge Marc Douple on criminal homicide, possession of an instrument of a crime and reckless endangerment. He was sent to Bucks County prison without bail.
Bristol Township police allege George Rodriquez, 59, of Trenton, was attending a party at Rivera’s home in the 4400 block of Fayette Drive when an argument broke out between them shortly before 3:30 a.m.
In a police interview after he was taken into custody, Rivera said he and Rodriquez were talking in the basement when Rodriquez said something that upset him, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Rivera told police he went upstairs and retrieved a loaded 12-gauge shotgun from his bedroom, then returned to the living room where he fired at Rodriquez, who was unarmed, the affidavit said.
Police said an unidentified 7-year-old boy and a woman were in the room when Rivera shot Rodriquez.
Rodriquez was shot multiple times, and at least one shot to his thigh hit a major artery, acting Bristol Township Police Chief Lt. John Godzieba said. Police found two spent shotgun shell casings on the living room floor near Rodriquez.
Rivera told police he only recalled firing one shot into Rodriquez, according to the affidavit.
When police arrived at the home, they found Rodriquez dead. Rivera was taken into custody at the crime scene. Police took his bloody clothing as evidence, which is why he was wearing a hospital gown at his arraignment.