Byline: George Barnes
FITCHBURG - A father and son were held on high bail after their arraignment yesterday in Fitchburg District Court on murder charges in the August killing a California man who had been living with them.
Reinaldo Andino-Colon, 53, and his son, Reinaldo Andino-Benitez, 23, both of 174 Meadowbrook Lane, are charged with murder in the beating and strangulation death of 32-year-old Alex Ortiz-Rivera.
Mr. Rivera's body was found Aug. 19 in a sandpit near the Fitchburg Airport. The father and son were ordered held on $500,000 cash bail each or $5 million with surety by Judge Andrew L. Mandell.
A third suspect, Edward J. Ortiz, 19, of Dorado, Puerto Rico, is being held in Puerto Rico pending extradition.
Mr. Andino-Colon and Mr. Andino-Benitez were arraigned out of sight of cameras after their lawyers raised concern that they had not seen enough evidence to know whether identification would be an issue in the trial. The two men and an interpreter stood in a hallway outside the courtroom during the arraignment. They answered questions from Judge Mandell through the interpreter.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. held a news conference after the arraignment. He said that at one point before his death, the victim had nine pounds of marijuana and $8,000 in cash. Mr. Early said the father and son enlisted Mr. Ortiz to help them kill the man. The victim was beaten and his larynx was punctured and crushed.
Mr. Early said the arrests were made last week after an extensive investigation by Fitchburg and state police. He said Mr. Ortiz-Rivera was found in the sand pit shoeless and with no identification on him. Police were able to identify him in two days by a tattoo on him that included Chinese figures.
Mr. Early said...