For Immediate Release - December 15, 2010

Lawrence Man Guilty Of Second Degree Murder

A Lawrence Superior Court jury today found Randy Arias, 22, of Lawrence, guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of Julio Zuniga, 33, of Haverhill. Judge Richard Welch sentenced Arias to life in state prison.

The jury deliberated for seven hours over the course of two days before returning its verdict, following the seven-day trial.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Karen Hopwood proved that early on the morning of October 12, 2008, Arias shot Zuniga twice with a handgun outside of a Lawrence nightclub following an argument between two groups of men. Zuniga, a married father of five, was pronounced dead at Lawrence General Hospital a short time later.

Arias also shot another man at the scene three times, but he survived. That victim was the cousin of Zuniga. For that shooting, Arias was found guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury. Judge Welch sentenced him to 10-12 years in state prison, to be served from and after the life sentence for murder. He was found not guilty of armed assault with intent to murder.

After the shootings Arias fled, but on November 4, 2008, turned himself in at Lawrence District Court, and has been in custody ever since.

Hopwood, who was second-seated by Essex Assistant District Attorney James Gubitose, praised the Lawrence Police Detectives and Massachusetts State Police Detectives, particularly lead Lawrence Police Detective Brian Voisine and lead Massachusetts State Police Detective Brandon Arakelian. She also lauded Victim/Witness Advocate Jocelyn Pichardo for assisting the surviving victim and witnesses through the court process.

Arias, who will not be parole eligible until he has served at least 25 years, was represented by Attorney Jeffrey Karp.