SALEM, Mass. (AP) - A Lawrence man charged with fatally shooting the driver of a car in a botched drug robbery has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and avoided a retrial on a first-degree murder charge.
Erick Rivera was sentenced Tuesday in Salem Superior Court to up to 13 years in prison for the August 2011 shooting of Christopher Fischer of Reading.
The jury in Rivera's murder trial in December deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial.
Had he been convicted, he faced life in prison.
Prosecutors say Rivera shot Fischer as he sat in the driver's seat of his car after he pulled a knife on Rivera during a drug deal.
Rivera's lawyer tells The Eagle-Tribune (http://bit.ly/W58Awv ) the shooting was a clear case of self-defense, but his client didn't want to take his chances at trial.