Over the weekend, New Haven Police arrested two men in connection with the 1996 murder of North Haven resident Philip Cusick, bringing a lengthy murder investigation nearer to a close.

Jose Rivera, 28, a convicted felon and reputed drug dealer, was arraigned Friday on narcotics and weapons charges, in addition to the murder charge. Demetrius Cox, 31, of New Haven, was also arrested this weekend on several lesser charges in connection with Cusick’s killing.

Police determined that Cusick was shot in New Haven after a drug deal went bad. His body was then driven to his North Haven home and left across the street, where a neighbor found it shortly before 2 a.m. the next day.

The arrests mark a major turning point in an investigation soiled by alleged police corruption.

Last December, a grand jury determined that former New Haven Police Capt. Brian Sullivan deliberately hid evidence from North Haven detectives investigating Cusick’s murder. Sullivan allegedly kept a 1998 statement from a witness who named Rivera as a suspect in a desk drawer at the NHPD for almost two years without informing North Haven police.

Rather than face internal ethics charges, Sullivan retired from the NHPD in December 2000. Hours later, he was arrested on charges of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. His attorney has said he will take the case to trial.

–Brian Ginsberg