Jurors see surveillance video at green garages trial

Hartford — Jurors at the trial of two men accused of arranging the attack that led to the September 2012 stabbing death of Javier Reyes in New London watched surveillance video footage Friday that showed two men walking toward Reyes' Huntington Street apartment.

The men covered their faces, and one appeared to be carrying a baseball bat as they entered the Winthrop Square apartment complex and walked toward the area of Reyes' apartment.

Seconds later, they fled with two other men, pursued by a neighbor of Reyes who had witnessed the attack.

Oscar "Tato" Valentin and Nestor "Ernie" Pagan are on trial in U.S. District Court on conspiracy, assault and drug distribution charges.

The government alleges that Reyes interfered with a drug-dealing enterprise Valentin was running out of garage bays on Walker Street known as the "green garages," according to federal and state prosecutors.

At Valentin's behest, the government alleges, Pagan found two men who carried out the attack for $200.

The trial began Monday, and for the next two days the government presented testimony about the drug-dealing enterprise, along with surveillance images and wiretap recordings obtained during a lengthy investigation.

On Thursday, the prosecution started presenting evidence about the homicide.

Valentin and Pagan, who are incarcerated, sat at the defense table Friday, separated by their attorneys and wearing dress shirts and slacks.

Pagan's mother and another woman watched from the gallery.  

Federal prosecutor Sarah Karwan displayed the surveillance video while eliciting testimony from New London police Detective Richard Curcuro.

Curcuro said he and Detective William Pero had spent about 40 hours collecting the surveillance after downloading the video.

He said the contractor that maintains the cameras for the apartment's owners, Vesta Corp., helped them install software to access and download the files wirelessly, and the detectives sat in cars, within the line of sight of camera boxes, to gather the information.

The jury saw excerpts of the men approaching and leaving Reyes' apartment, which Curcuro said was located in an area of the complex known as "the hill," but the cameras did not capture the actual attack.

The jurors also saw footage showing the alleged getaway car, a Toyota Rav4 that was distinctive from other SUVs beacuse it had a tire mounted on the back.

The two men who carried out the assault, Jose Rosado Jr., 23, also known as "Gugie," and Andrew "Papo" Aviles, 28, have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

At his change-of-plea hearing in January 2015, Aviles told Judge Vanessa Bryant that he met Pagan through a friend and that Pagan told him that he and "Gugie" had to beat somebody up, according to a court transcript.

Aviles said he and Rosado waited outside the Huntington Street apartment until they saw Reyes.

Rosado approached Reyes and struck him with the baseball bat. When Reyes pulled a kitchen knife, Rosado stumbled and fell over a stoop, hitting his head on a windowsill, Aviles said.

Aviles said he stabbed Reyes, who was trying to stab him, and Reyes fell to the ground.

Aviles said he and Rosado fled to a vehicle carrying Pagan and two other men and driven by a female friend.

Aviles said he threw his knife out the window on an exit ramp.

The trial will resume on Monday.

k.florin@theday.com

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