Federal prosecutors said the pair killed Robert Bishun, a known heroin dealer and owner of a Morris Park auto body shop.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said, “Just over two years ago, Robert Bishun was violently kidnapped and brutally murdered by the defendants because he was a federal cooperating witness.
“Today, the jury in this case returned a unanimous verdict holding the defendants accountable for their heinous crimes. We hope that today’s result brings some small measure of peace to Robert Bishun’s family.”
On Sept. 20, 2016, Robert Pizarro and Juan Rivera attempted to rob Bishun at gunpoint inside his auto body shop in the Bronx. During the attempted robbery, two customers were bound with zip ties and locked in the trunks of separate vehicles inside the shop.
Upon learning that Bishun was a federal cooperating witness, Pizarro and Rivera kidnapped Bishun from his shop and strangled him to death with a plastic zip tie before abandoning his body in the back of his own vehicle on the side of the road.
On a prior occasion, in January 2015, Pizarro and another accomplice stormed into Bishun’s auto body shop and robbed him at gunpoint, taking approximately $10,000 in cash from him. During the course of the robbery, two customers were bound with zip ties.
Pizarro, 38, of the Bronx, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison plus 32 years. Rivera, 41, also of the Bronx, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison plus seven years.
Mr. Berman praised the investigative efforts of the DEA, NYPD and the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Swergold, Jessica Fender, Jared Lenow, and Margaret Graham are in charge of the prosecution.