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Somerville man indicted in homeless man’s fatal beating in Charlestown park

A Suffolk grand jury Tuesday indicted a suspect for allegedly bludgeoning a homeless man to death in September while the victim slept on a Charlestown park bench, and the defendant is also accused of attacking a woman with a baseball bat in Somerville, officials said.

The suspect, Clifton Moore, 30, is slated to be arraigned Jan. 2 in Suffolk Superior Court on a charge of first-degree murder for the slaying of Joshua Rivera, 54, District Attorney John Pappas’s office said.

Moore is currently jailed for the separate alleged baseball bat attack in Somerville. No lawyer has been appointed for Moore yet in the murder case.

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Authorities allege that he repeatedly struck Rivera with a long item, possibly a stick or a bat, at Ryan Playground in the early morning hours of Sept. 6, according to Pappas’s office. Rivera suffered blunt force injuries to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Like too many people, Mr. Rivera was particularly vulnerable as he slept outside with no place to call home,” Pappas said in a statement. “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.”

Witnesses initially thought Moore was striking an empty park bench but discovered Rivera’s badly injured body after Moore left the area, officials said. The witnesses called 911.

Prosecutors said Moore was identified as the suspect with the help of surveillance cameras.

“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,” Pappas’s office said in a statement. “The footage shows him leaving the park about a minute and a half later.”

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The release 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.”

Moore’s last known address was in Somerville, but he’s given prior addresses in Roxbury, Lynn, and out-of-state locations over the past several years, according to authorities.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.