Nashua men to face trial in home invasion, fatal shooting

NASHUA – Two men from Nashua and another from Merrimack have been indicted on charges stemming from a December home invasion that led to the shooting death of a 44-year-old man, according to authorities in Massachusetts.

A grand jury handed up indictments last week against Roberto Lopez-Ortiz, 32, and Jonathan Rivera, 23, both of Nashua, and Donte Okowuga, 34, of Merrimack, according to an announcement released April 12 by Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

They were among a group of five people who were arrested earlier this year and charged with participating in the deadly Dec. 18, 2013 home invasion in Lowell, Mass.

The men are accused of traveling to an apartment at 49 2nd St. to rob the occupant, Christiano Diaz-Arias. Diaz-Arias was shot in the head and chest during an altercation with the group and found in the hallway outside his apartment, Ryan said.

In court documents, prosecutors accused Lopez-Ortiz of firing the fatal shots, based on statements he made to codefendants,
according to reports published in The Sun of Lowell.

Lopez-Ortiz also suffered a gunshot wound to the hand and was treated at a hospital in Manchester, N.H., after fleeing the scene, according to the district attorney.

Nashua police took
Lopez-Ortiz into custody in February at a residence at 243 Main St. He was charged with being a fugitive from justice and returned to Massachusetts to face charges.

Lopez-Ortiz, Okowuga and another man who is accused of participating in the robbery attempt – 36-year-old Tarrant Tillis, of Dracut, Mass. – were indicted on charges of murder, armed home invasion and armed assault to rob.

A Middlesex County grand jury also returned indictments last week charging Rivera with armed home invasion and armed assault to rob, according to the district attorney.

The fifth man charged in the incident, 42-year-old Kent Grays, of Lowell, was indicted on a single count of assault to rob. Court documents indicate Grays was the victim’s neighbor and communicated his movements to the others by phone, according to The Lowell Sun.

The five men remain in custody. Okowuga was scheduled to be arraigned April 14 in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Mass. Court dates were still pending for the others.

Assistant District Attorneys Marisa Tagliareni and John McEvoy are assigned to prosecute the case. Kristen Chamberlain will serve as a victim witness advocate.

An indictment is not an indication of guilt; rather, it signifies that a grand jury found there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashua Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).