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Criminal Informant’s Recording Played In Clairton Shooting Trial

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Andy Sheehan Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator Andy Sheehan began his broadcast journalism...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Stunning new evidence in the trial of a man accused of shooting Clairton Police Officer James Kuzak.

On one tape, a voice purported to be that of defendant Emilio Rivera discusses the shooting with a confidential informant working with the police and wearing a concealed wire recording device.

On it, Rivera says he is relieved that police have arrested someone else, saying he wants that person convicted so he won’t go to jail.

RIVERA: “I hope they hurry up and do something though.”

INFORMANT: “Yeah, shouldn’t be too long. They are gonna crucify that dude.”

RIVERA: “Man, I hope so. I ain’t going back to jail. I mean the only way I’m going back to jail is by … death. … I’m not going back to jail.”

Later, the informant presses Rivera for details of the shooting and Rivera says that while the home invasion was in progress, the police banged on the door and he had to shoot his way out.

INFORMANT: “You had to do what you had to do to get the … out of the situation dog.”

RIVERA: “Right.”

INFORMANT: “That’s what scares me. Like don’t get me wrong, I’m with the home invasion. I’ll do it myself. I got no problems.”

RIVERA: “Not some .. like that.”

INFORMANT: “That’s when it get scary, like damn, dog.”

RIVERA: “Yeah, they were already there, banging on the door and …”

INFORMANT: “Aw.”

RIVERA: “I opened the door and looked out and oh, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! I told my bro, this is what we got to come up out of this. I did it man … that! I can’t go back to jail, you know what I’m saying.”

INFORMANT: “No, I feel for you.”

Defense attorney Paul Gentleman cross examined the informant trying to undermine his credibility, noting that the man is a career criminal with a 15-year-old record of arrests and convictions who routinely turns state’s evidence for lesser sentences.

But it’s hard to argue against what’s been captured in a recording as these tapes present an uphill battle for the defense.

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