Grand Jury Returns Murder Indictment In Homeless Man’s Fatal Beating in Park

The man accused of fatally beating 54-year-old Joshua Rivera as he slept in a Charlestown park has been indicted for the homeless man’s murder, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and Suffolk County District Attorney John P. Pappas announced Wednesday.

The Suffolk County Grand Jury Tuesday returned an indictment charging Clifton Moore, 30, with first-degree murder in the September attack that claimed Rivera’s life. Moore is already in custody on a separate assault case in Middlesex County.

“Like too many people, Mr. Rivera was particularly vulnerable as he slept outside with no place to call home,” Pappas said. “I want to commend the Boston Police detectives and Suffolk prosecutors who committed themselves to speaking for him, and I’m especially grateful to the witnesses who stepped forward to share what they saw and what they knew. They were absolutely critical in helping us build this case.”

Evidence developed by Boston Police homicide detectives and Suffolk prosecutors suggests that, in the early morning hours of Sept. 6, witnesses in the Ryan Playground observed a man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt wielding a long item, possibly a stick or a bat. The witnesses observed this man repeatedly striking what they initially believed was an empty park bench. After he left the area, the witnesses discovered Rivera’s body on the bench and called 9-1-1.

Rivera suffered multiple blunt force injuries to the head and died at the scene.

MBTA public safety cameras captured a man matching the assailant’s clothing description and carrying a backpack and baseball bat as he entered the park a short time prior to the attack. The footage shows him leaving the park about a minute and a half later, prosecutors said.

Moore, whose build is consistent with that of the Ryan Playground assailant, was arrested approximately one month later by Somerville Police for allegedly assaulting a woman with a baseball bat in that city.  At the time of his arrest, he was wearing a backpack and shoes similar to those clearly visible in the MBTA footage.

Assistant District Attorney Catherine Ham led the grand jury proceedings resulting in the indictment.

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