WEST CHESTER—The question surrounding the identity of the masked gunman who shot and killed the teenage son of a North Coventry drug dealer in a failed robbery, as the youngster tried to protect children having a sleepover home, was answered by a jury of the Court of Common Pleas.
On Friday evening, the panel of seven women and five men in Judge David Bortner’s courtroom found Ricardo “Hov” Rivera guilty of second-degree murder and related charges in the shooting death of David Michael Doyle III in September 2017. The jurors deliberated for just over four hours before returning with their verdict.
The guilty verdict means Ricardo, who prosecutors say fired two shots with a handgun while struggling with the 17-year-old known as ‘Davey Mike’ in the apartment of his family, with a bullet hitting Doyle in the chest, now faces a mandatory warrant. life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Ricardo, 28, from Reading, was also found guilty of robbery, burglary and conspiracy after the long five-day trial. Following the verdict, Rivera was returned to Chester County Jail, where he has been held without bail since his arrest in April 2018.
He will be condemned later by Bortner.
The prosecution — led by Senior Assistant District Attorney Carlos Barraza and Assistant District Attorney Emily Provencher — argued that Ricardo was part of a plan to steal money from Doyle’s father, David Doyle Jr. that he had drug dealing in the apartment where he lived. with his fiancée and three children.
Three other people were involved: a woman whom Rivera had just met, but who knew the elder Doyle as a drug dealer and believed he had a large sum of money at home; and two Reading acquaintances – one who also broke into the apartment to commit the robbery, and another who drove a getaway car.
“Davey Mike knew his family needed to be protected,” Barraza said during his closing argument, recalling how the teenager told the robbers to put their guns away because there were children in the apartment – his younger brothers and sisters and a nephew. “He knew what he was supposed to do. But being the only adult in the room cost him his life.
The defense, on the other hand, asked the jury to find Rivera not guilty based on a description of the shooter by Doyle and his fiancé who did not match Rivera’s profile, and untrustworthy testimony from witnesses to charge, especially the woman who set up the failure. theft, Anaye Marie Raggazino, drug addict and prostitute.
“There’s another side to justice” besides convicting someone accused of a crime, Coatesville attorney Albert C. Sardella, who represented Ricardo, said in his conclusion. “And it’s that the wrong person isn’t convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.”
Sardella urged jurors to return with a not-guilty verdict due to inconsistencies and misrepresentations made by prosecution witnesses. He said testimony about Ricardo’s role in the Raggazino incident could not be trusted as she was testifying to save herself from a life sentence; Raggazino pleaded guilty to third-degree murder charges in exchange for his cooperation, and was therefore a “polluted source” whose veracity must be viewed with skepticism.
But in her presentation to the jury, Barraza presented a meticulous timeline that showed Raggazino’s testimony had been corroborated by other evidence, including people she knew and others who knew Ricardo, as well as tapes. cellphones that showed the two traveling from Reading to Pottstown. the night of the murder.
In September 2017, Raggazino had traveled to Philadelphia to try to buy drugs and recruit others to help him rob Doyle Jr., who showed him a stack of cash he said having drawn from his drug dealings. The photo was a fake; he did not have a large sum of money at the time of the shooting.
Stranded in Philadelphia, she made her way to Reading, where she was introduced to Ricardo by a mutual acquaintance. On the day they met, September 24, 2017, she told him of her plan and he agreed to help her. He, in turn, recruited two others, Jonathan “Chicken Wing” Malave and Juan Ortiz Encarnacion, and the four traveled to North Coventry that night after contacting Doyle Jr. and asking him to buy him some dope.
But when she arrived at the apartment at Ashwood Apartments outside Pottstown, she found Doyle Jr. passed out in the living room and Doyle II and the other three children in the room. She asked Rivera and the others to cancel the flight, but they sent her away saying they didn’t want to leave empty-handed.
Raggazino returned to the apartment, was allowed in by Doyle Jr.’s fiancé, and unsuccessfully attempted to wake the dealer, while texting Rivera about what was going on. Soon, he and Encarnacion burst through the door brandishing handguns, while Doyle III tried to hold them back and grab Rivera’s gun. Two shots were fired: one through the ceiling of the apartment and the second in the chest of the 17-year-old. He died the following day at Reading Hospital.
Barraza’s conclusion was as emotionally gripping as it was methodical. Observers said that as the veteran prosecutor paid tribute to young Doyle as a “hero” and a victim, some jurors broke down in tears.
But also touched was Doyle Jr. who had testified for the prosecution about what he saw the night his eldest son was shot.
“He’s going through his own personal hell,” Barraza said of the dealer, who was seated in the audience during his closing arguments. “He knows that Davey Mike died partly because of him. He will never forgive himself. »
As Barraza spoke, Doyle Jr. lowered his head, held his scalp in his hand, and began to cry.
To contact editor Michael P. Rellahan, call 610-696-1544.