Two men will spend the rest of their lives in prison after being convicted of kidnapping and murdering a federal cooperating witness from the area in a violent armed robbery more than two years ago.
Bronx residents Robert Pizarro and Juan Rivera were convicted in September last year of murdering a witness from Rockland to prevent him from reporting to law enforcement, kidnapping conspiracy, kidnapping resulting in death, robbery conspiracy, robbery, and weapons offenses, arising out of the murder of federal cooperating witness and Garnerville resident Robert Bishun on Sept. 20, 2016.
On Tuesday, July 30, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced that Pizarro had been sentenced to life in prison plus 14 years, while Rivera received life in prison plus seven years.
On the day of Bishun’s murder, Pizarro and Rivera attempted to rob him at gunpoint inside his auto body shop in the Bronx. During the attempted robbery, two customers inside the building were bound with zip ties and locked in the trunks of two vehicles being worked on.
Berman said that the two men learned that Bishun was a federal cooperating witness, Pizarro and Rivera kidnapped him from the shop, strangled him to death with a plastic zip tie and abandoned his body in the back of his own car on the side of the road in the Bronx.
Berman noted that Pizarro and another suspect had stormed into the auto body shop in January 2015, robbing approximately $10,000 in cash from Bishun. During that robbery, two customers were also zip-tied.
Pizarro, 39, faced a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison plus 32 years. Rivera, 42, faced life in prison plus seven years. No sentencing date has been set.
“As the evidence at trial established, the defendants viciously kidnapped and murdered Robert Bishun because he was a federal cooperating witness," Berman said. "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.”
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