Scarsdale Man Pleads Not Guilty To Murder and Kidnapping Charges

According to the Journal News, former Scarsdale High School student Andrew Zayac, age 29, pleaded not guilty yesterday to kidnapping and murder charges that could result in the death penalty.  He has been held in the Westchester County jail in Valhalla on related narcotics charges, and appeared in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, CT to enter his plea on June 22nd.

Last week a federal grand jury  indicted him and Heriberto Gonzalez, 29, of the Bronx on several charges, the most serious of which are kidnapping resulting in death, premeditated murder and murder during the commission of a robbery. Prosecutors said they could seek the death penalty for those charges.

Zayac and Gonzalez are accused of abducting Edward Rivera, 37, of the Bronx on Feb. 8 for the purpose of robbing him, police said. Rivera had been carrying a large quantity of marijuana at the time, police said.  During the course of the abduction, Rivera was shot twice, and he eventually died of the gunshot wounds, prosecutors said. His body was then driven to Danbury, where the corpse was dumped at Mountain Laurel Lane and Padanaram Road, police said.

Zayac and Gonzalez are accused of transporting the body in a Jeep reportedly stolen from New Rochelle and later found abandoned and torched, police said. Both suspects also are charged with interference with commerce through the use of violence, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and the use of a firearm during and in relation to a narcotics trafficking offense. Those charges carry an additional total maximum term of 30 years in prison.

Zayac was arrested March 1 after police and the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant on his Scarsdale home, where they found about 50 pounds of marijuana, according to a federal complaint. He apparently had been observed two years earlier buying drugs from individuals whom the DEA had tracked from a Yonkers residence where marijuana deliveries had been made, according to the federal complaint.

After Zayac was arrested, he told agents that he had bought more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana over the course of a year and half, according to the complaint. That arrest, including the marijuana possession, is related to the Danbury case, prosecutors said.

As a senior at Scarsdale High School in 1997, Zayac, a soccer forward, led the Raiders with nine goals and six assists. Then a three-year varsity letterman, he was named all-league twice and received all-section honors his last year.

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