NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain man accused of shooting 34-year-old Erick Rivera to death on North Street in January entered not guilty pleas on Friday, according to court records.
Justin Hapgood, 18, is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the shooting that took place near the intersection of North and Willow streets on Jan. 15. A co-conspirator, Wilfredo Oquendo, 17, is also charged in the case with accessory to murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
The warrants for Oquendo’s arrest alleged that Hapgood shot Rivera after Rivera attempted to rob Oquendo. Oquendo allegedly told Hapgood to shoot Rivera after the robbery attempt. Rivera walked up North Street to where he collapsed and was then transported to the hospital, where he later died, the warrants said.
Hapgood also waived his right to a probable cause hearing on Friday, which is held so the court can hear the state prosecution argue that it is more likely than not the defendant committed the alleged crimes before the case continues.
Hapgood is due back in court on June 27. Oquendo is due back on June 11. Both remain in custody on $2 million bonds.
Oquendo has not entered a plea. He was granted a timing extension for his probable cause hearing at his last court appearance, which was requested in part because his attorney said the state hasn’t provided her with evidence in the case.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.