NU students’ killer is found found guilty five years later

By John Guilfoil

“Nathan, is that you? Why are you doing this? We grew up together.”

These last fateful words of Karen Young, a Northeastern student murdered in 2001, lived on during a two-week trial that resulted in the conviction of her killers, Terrance Brown and Nathan Rivera.

The 25-year-olds were found guilty in Suffolk Superior Court July 25 of first-degree murder, armed assault with intent to murder and unlawful firearms possession. A 12-person jury took four days to render the verdict against Brown and Rivera, both of Dorchester.

The decision brings some closure to the families of the victims and a university community left stunned by the loss of a promising scholarship student.

At the time, Young was a rising junior in the College of Computer and Information Science. The Boston Latin high school graduate was working at Hewlett-Packard for her third co-op, and was a member of their Philanthropy and Education Scholar Program, according to The News at the time.

“The university is pleased that justice has been served in this tragic case,” said Director of Communications and Public Relations Fred McGrail.

According to prosecutors, on the morning of Aug. 10, 2001, two masked men broke into a Mission Hill apartment with the intent of stealing drugs and money from one of the occupants, 20-year-old Quincy College student Roland Chow, the Boston Herald reported at the time.

Chow, Young and a third person, Wei Li, were bound with duct tape. Young had then recognized one of the assailants and called out his name. According to reports at the time, Young was heard pleading for her life.

Her pleas fell on deaf ears.

Rivera dragged Young into her bedroom, ransacked the room and shot the 20-year-old mother in the head six times. She died at the scene.

Rivera then returned to the living room and shot Chow in the head. He died that afternoon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, according to The Herald.

Then Li saw the gun pointed at him, but all he heard was a click as the weapon was either out of ammunition or had malfunctioned.

The two men ran out of the house, taking only Li’s wallet and leaving behind one dead, one dying, over $15,000 in cash and 200 unknown pills, which were found in a duffel bag, according to The Herald.

Brown and Rivera were arrested within a week of the incident and held without bail until their trial last week.

After four days of deliberation, jurors returned a guilty verdict on all counts except the charge of armed robbery.

“We’re very pleased that the jury saw the evidence as we did,” said Assistant District Attorney Dennis Collins.

Throughout the trial, Chow was labeled a drug dealer, and drugs and drug money have appeared as motives for the robbery. Police found cash and a variety of illegal drugs including ecstasy and methamphetamine in the apartment after the murders.

According to Collins, Rivera and Brown were in court yesterday to face Judge Charles Spurlock and the mandatory life without parole sentences that await them.

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