Holyoke Police chief believes harsher federal court ruling could have prevented weekend homicide

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Holyoke Police Department is hoping for increased federal support as they continue to make efforts to prevent more gun violence and make the city safer for its residents. 

In an email to 22News, Chief Manny Febo expressed his disappointment towards previous rulings made by a federal court judge that could have prevented and possibly saved the life of 21-year-old Holyoke resident Jesus Otero-Marrero. 

Otero-Marrero is one of the shooting victims from this weekend’s deadly shootings in Holyoke. He was found unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds in the area of 605 South Bridge Street on Friday morning. 

“The January 9, 2020, homicide of 21-year-old Holyoke resident Jesus Otero-Marrero might have been prevented if a federal judge in Springfield had just imposed even the lower end of the minimum sentence time available within the federal sentencing guidelines.” 

Holyoke Police Chief Manny Febo

Chief Febo added that the murder suspect, 30-year-old Jean Carlos Rivera, also known as “Carlito,” had pleaded guilty in federal court in Springfield in November 2019, to possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base charges.  

“We supported the U.S. Attorney’s Office as they argued for a sentence within the guidelines of 33-41 months in prison,” Chief Febo explained, adding that, “The presiding judge however sentenced Rivera, a validated “La Familia” street gang member, to one month of time served and a probation term without explanation and he was soon released back into the South Holyoke neighborhood.” 

Chief Febo said case investigators were stunned by the judge’s decision at the time and believes that on January 13, Rivera shot and killed Otero-Marrero at close range “in what can only be described as a ‘gang-land’ slaying.” 

“My hope is for increased federal judicial support for our community as we continue to improve the quality of life, having invested heavily in partnering with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to make Holyoke a safer place.” 

Holyoke Police Chief Manny Febo

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