Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped a murder case against a Miami man who was accused of killing another man in rural South Miami-Dade.
The decision came more than a year after Christopher Luis Rivero was arrested and accused of murdering 21-year-old Adrian Lopez, who went missing in January 2012. His truck and body were found three days later at Southwest 280th Street and 207th Avenue.
Rivero was not arrested until three years after Lopez’s body was discovered. At the time, police said phone records placed Rivero, 24, with Lopez in the area at the time of the disappearance and a fingerprint tied the victim to Rivero’s car. The killing was believed to be over drugs.
But defense attorneys noted that the evidence didn’t prove Rivero killed Lopez, who might have been slain days after he disappeared. A judge in April 2015 ruled that prosecutors did not establish probable cause and allowed Rivero out on jail pending trial.
Another witness, Oba Newbard, came forward to implicate Rivero in the murder. But his credibility was shaky — he was in jail, got a plea deal and then attacked another inmate during a court hearing, according to lawyers Christopher DeCoste and Tara Kawass.
“There’s a lot of talk these days about walls being built,” DeCoste said. “This government tried to build four of them around our client and have him pay for it with a conviction for a murder he didn’t commit. It was a tough battle and we’re glad we stopped them.”