Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Reinaldo Javier RIVERA





Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 4
Date of murder: July 1999 - September 2000
Date of birth: September 13, 1963 (Madrid, Spain)
Victims profile: Melissa Dingess, 17 / Tiffaney S. Wilson, 17 / Tabitha Bosdell, 17 / Sergeant Marni Glista, 21
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Georgia/South Carolina, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in Georgia on February 20, 2004

photo gallery 1

photo gallery 2

photo gallery 3


Police in Agusta, Georgia, believe they have arrested a serial killer responsible for the murders of at least four women in South Carolina and Georgia.

Reinaldo Rivera, a 37-year-old former sailor who worked for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., was arrested in a motel room where he tried to kill himself by slashing his wrists after a woman whom he stabbed and raped helped authorities locate him. The woman said she went with Rivera to her house last week, where he allegedly raped her and stabbed her three times in the neck with a steak knife.

Since his arrest investigators said they have gotten about 30 calls from women who said they were approached by Rivera between 1999 and this year. The women, who are mostly young and blond, said the man tried to lure them into his car saying that he was opening a modeling agency and asking them about their sex lives.

Using information obtained during his police interview, authorities located the bodies of two of his four alleged victims in a wooden area in the South Carolina border. The two other victims had been located previously. Police said Rivera has been charged with the murders of Melissa Dingess, 17, of Graniteville, South Carolina, who disappeared 15 months ago; Fort Gordon Sergeant Marni Glista, 21, of Augusta, who was raped and strangled last month; Tiffaney Wilson of Jackson, South Carolina, who was killed last December; and an unidentified 18-year-old woman who disappeared during the summer.

A homicide task force in Fayetteville is also checking whether Rivera could be a suspect in 15 unsolved cases in the area. Six cases involve the murder of prostitutes in the Fayetteville/Cumberland County area between 1987 and 1999. Almost all the victims were beaten and strangled to death, police said.

Born in Madrid, Spain, Rivera moved with his family to Puerto Rico at the age of 7. His father was a doctor. At 19, Rivera joined the Navy and reported for basic training in Orlando, Florida. That same year, he was sent to San Diego, California and spent the next three years at sea. From December 1986 to March 1991, Rivera worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington. Then he attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, earning a degree in office administration. While in Columbia, he married Tammy Lisa Bonnette on Valentine's Day 1993, and has two children ages 5 and 7. He remained in the Navy, moving to Pensacola, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas, before being discharged in September 1995. He left Texas and settled in Aiken County, South Carolina, in January 1998 where he was hired -- ironically -- as a tire inspector at a Bridgestone/Firestone plant.

On October 18 the Agusta Journal published a handwritten letter from his wife Tammy expressing her faith in God and her grief over the deaths of four young women her husband raped and murdered. Here's a transcript of the letter:

"We want to express our deepest sympathy for all the victims and their families. We have been praying and continue to pray for the families and all that are involved. God is the only one that is going to get us (through) this. In reading about the victims I prayed to God that the person committing these horrible acts would be apprehended, not knowing it was my own husband. We believe God did not allow him to die in the motel room for at least (two) reasons; one so that the unsolved cases could be solved and two that total justice can be served. We could never adequately express our grief and tremendous sorrow we feel in our hearts toward you that have gone (through) the loss of your precious loved ones. My life is shattered and I just ask that the community have compassion not so much for me but for my two small children who are victims also. We have asked God over and over Why? How could this have happened? We just do not have the answers and probably never will. Our family, church, close friends, and even people from the community that we have never met (have) been a comforting support, but above all God (has been). We have been cooperating fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. To the families again our deepest sympathy."

Tammy Rivera & family

On November 3 Rivera entered not guilty pleas to a capital murder charge and 13 other charges including rape, aggravated assault and aggravated sodomy. Rivera stood completely still in Richmond County Superior Court as Judge Albert M. Pickett read through each of the 14 charges lodged against him, including a murder charge for the September 9 death of Marni Glista. The arraignment and initial hearing in Richmond County Superior Court were the first of the specialized pretrial hearings that must be held in every case in which prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty.


Jury finds Rivera guilty on all counts

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Mr. Rivera expressed outrage that his Richmond County Superior Court death penalty trial would continue to a sentencing phase today.

But the trial must continue because the jury that determined he is a rapist and murderer must now determine his punishment for killing Army Sgt. Marni Glista.

"This is a joke. This is a circus here," Mr. Rivera, 40, railed Friday afternoon in Richmond County Superior Court, where less than an hour earlier, the jury rejected the defense's plea for a guilty but mentally ill verdict after nearly three hours of deliberations.

On each of the 14 counts in the indictment, the jury wrote not just "guilty," but "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Mr. Rivera faces a death sentence or a sentence of life in prison with or without the possibility of parole for killing the 21-year-old soldier.

"This trial must go forward," Judge Albert M. Pickett told Mr. Rivera.

During a series of questions and answers while the jury waited in the deliberation room, Judge Pickett once again told Mr. Rivera that he had the right to testify, to be his own co-counsel and to tell the jury he wanted a death sentence.

Judge Pickett said Mr. Rivera has the right to make an opening statement to the jury this morning and skip the remainder of his trial. But he cannot prevent his defense attorneys Peter Johnson and Jacque Hawk from presenting evidence to persuade the jury to impose a sentence of life, the judge said.

"I'm really confused about what I'm supposed to do," Mr. Hawk told the judge. As an attorney, his duty is to act in a client's best interest, but there's the duty also to follow the client's wishes, he said.

Mr. Rivera said he will make his statement to the jury and then return to his jail cell for the remainder of his trial.

What he really wants, Mr. Rivera told the judge, is to tell the jury what a liar District Attorney Danny Craig is. At the beginning, middle and end of the day's proceedings, Mr. Rivera ranted about the closing arguments Mr. Craig made Thursday.

In statements to investigators and in testimony before the jury this week, Mr. Rivera described himself as a sex addict, a man living a double life with a bad side that led him to repeated attempts to deceive women with a phony story about being a professional photographer. He confessed he raped and killed Sgt. Glista in September 2000, killed three other woman and tried to kill one last victim.

But Mr. Craig argued to jurors that they shouldn't believe everything that comes out of the mouth of the man doctors described as a sadistic psychopath. Instead of a sex addict who seduced women with promises of modeling, Mr. Craig described Mr. Rivera as a murderous rapist who stalked and abducted each of the four homicide victims.

Mr. Rivera bitterly complained about Mr. Craig's interpretation of the evidence, and about Mr. Craig's seeking an indictment against him in Columbia County in the death of 17-year-old Tabitha Bosdell, even though he has repeatedly said he killed the teenager in Richmond County on June 29, 2000.

"If he can't kill me in Richmond County he thinks he can kill me in Columbia County. He wants a second shot at me," Mr. Rivera complained to the judge.

Murder charges, Mr. Craig has explained since obtaining the indictments against Mr. Rivera in both counties, are lodged in the county where a body is found.

Mr. Rivera's desire to "get it over with" probably won't be granted anytime soon. Mr. Craig has said that regardless of the sentence imposed in Richmond County, he also will try Mr. Rivera in Columbia County.

South Carolina 2nd Circuit Solicitor Barbara Morgan has said she will try Mr. Rivera in Aiken County in the sexual assaults and slayings of Melissa Dingess, 17, and Tiffaney S. Wilson, 17. The teenagers disappeared in July and December 1999.

In Richmond County, Mr. Rivera will be sentenced by the jury for the murder of Sgt. Glista and for his October 2000 attack on Chrisilee Barton.

Judge Pickett will have to impose sentences for the remaining guilty verdicts returned by the jury Friday - three counts of rape, four counts of aggravated sodomy, four counts of aggravated assault, and one count each of burglary and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

Death Penalty Rules

Georgia law strictly governs how death penalty trials are conducted.The law requires the trial to be conducted in two phases:

During the first, a jury is restricted to considering only the guilt or innocence of the accused.

If the jury convicts, a second phase, the penalty phase, takes place. Attorneys again make opening and closing statements and present evidence. At the end, the jury is asked to decide punishment - life in prison with or without the possibility of parole, or death.


To impose death or life in prison without parole, the jury must find the prosecutor has proven at least one of the state's statutory aggravating factors beyond a reasonable doubt. The verdict must be unanimous.


Jury gives Rivera death

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Reinaldo Rivera got what he asked for.

After nearly eight hours of deliberations on his sentence, a Richmond County Superior Court jury found Mr. Rivera should die for the brutal killing of Army Sgt. Marni Glista.

Immediately after the 12 jurors were asked if that was their individual verdicts, and they responded yes, Judge Albert M. Pickett officially imposed the death sentence and set Mr. Rivera's execution date for between March 3 and 9.

An appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court is automatic.

Given one last chance to make a statement before Judge Pickett imposed the sentence, Mr. Rivera - who had repeatedly given long speeches during the three-week trial - had one short statement.

"I'm sorry."

For the families of Sgt. Glista and the other three women Mr. Rivera confessed to killing, Monday night's verdict was an emotional release.

"I've waited for 3 1/2 years for this and I am just so thankful that the jurors saw to it to bring justice," said Gloria Perius, Sgt. Glista's mother who traveled from Seattle to attend the trial with her sister, daughter and husband.

To sentence Mr. Rivera to death, jurors must find prosecutors have proven beyond a reasonable doubt at least one of three aggravating circumstances: that Mr. Rivera caused Sgt. Glista's death in conjunction with her rape; that Mr. Rivera murdered Sgt. Glista while committing aggravated battery; and Sgt. Glista's slaying was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman. The jurors found all three.

Mr. Rivera admitted to killing Sgt. Glista in September 2000; Tabitha Bosdell, 17, on June 29, 2000; Tiffaney S. Wilson, 17, on Dec. 4, 1999; and Melissa Dingess, 17, on July 17, 1999, and the sexual assault of Chrisilee Barton that nearly proved fatal Oct. 10, 2000.


Rivera gets long term

Tempers flare; judge gives maximum penalty

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Reinaldo Rivera, already under a death sentence for murder, was sentenced Thursday to seven life sentences plus 105 years in prison for all of his other Augusta crimes.

Before Judge Albert M. Pickett imposed the maximum punishment possible for crimes related to the rapes of three women, two of whom were slain afterward, tempers flared as Mr. Rivera's defense attorneys attempted to present motions over his objections and the judge berated them for trying.

"There's nothing I have against my attorneys. They're excellent attorneys," Mr. Rivera said of Peter Johnson and Jacque Hawk, whom he asked the judge to restrain from filing motions on his behalf.

Mr. Rivera, 40, has insisted, even to the Richmond County Superior Court jury that convicted him, that he wanted death. A jury unanimously voted for death after finding that Mr. Rivera murdered 21-year-old Army Sgt. Marni Glista.

"I think he's mentally ill," Mr. Johnson said of his client and asked the judge to let him and Mr. Hawk present the motions challenging the constitutionality of Georgia's method of execution.

As Mr. Johnson continued his argument that the defense case proved Mr. Rivera mentally ill if not by the legal standard, the father of one of Mr. Rivera's victims stood up and was removed from the courtroom.

Mr. Hawk argued that if Mr. Rivera wants the state to put him to death, then at least it should be done in a humane manner.

The lethal injection procedure Georgia uses has been banned in 19 states as inhumane euthanasia for animals, Mr. Hawk said.

But Judge Pickett said the attorneys had to have known that information was developing and should have given him notice.

Perhaps, Mr. Johnson said, Mr. Rivera had received ineffective assistance of counsel.

"Oh, that's sweet. That's bootstrap," Judge Pickett responded to Mr. Johnson's reference to ineffective assistance, a reason cited by appeal courts to reverse convictions.

Judge Pickett rejected the motions to find the death penalty unconstitutional.

Asked if he had anything to say before sentence was imposed, Mr. Johnson responded that speculation Mr. Rivera might have killed more than four women was false.

"There's nobody else," Mr. Rivera said.

For the Sept. 4, 2000, attack on Sgt. Glista, Judge Pickett sentenced Mr. Rivera to life for rape, life for each of two counts of aggravated sodomy, and 20 years for aggravated assault.

For the June 29, 2000, attack on Tabitha L. Bosdell in Augusta, Judge Pickett sentenced Mr. Rivera to life for rape, life for aggravated sodomy and 20 years for aggravated assault. After his arrest, Mr. Rivera led investigators to Columbia County to find the body of the 17-year-old foster child.

For the Oct. 10, 2000, attack on Chrisilee Barton, who was 18 at the time, Judge Pickett sentenced Mr. Rivera to life for rape, life for aggravated sodomy, 20 years for burglary, 20 years for each of two counts of aggravated assault, and five years for possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

The death sentence and prison sentences are to be consecutive, Judge Pickett ruled.

In all, a Richmond County Superior Court jury convicted Mr. Rivera of 14 crimes related to the attacks Jan. 23.

Richmond County is finished with Mr. Rivera, but he still faces charges in Columbia County for Ms. Bosdell's slaying, and in Aiken County, where he is accused of raping and killing two 17-year-olds - Melissa Dingess and Tiffaney S. Wilson, who disappeared in July and December 1999.

District Attorney Danny Craig said Thursday he will try Mr. Rivera in Columbia County on capital murder charges in Ms. Bosdell's death, possibly this summer or fall.

Mr. Rivera might also face capital murder trials in Aiken County in Mrs. Dingess and Mrs. Wilson's deaths.


Rivera's attorneys try to get killer new trial

January 10, 2006

Convicted serial killer Reinaldo Rivera returned to Augusta from Georgia's death row for a hearing Monday.

Almost two years have passed since a Richmond County Superior Court jury convicted Mr. Rivera of murder and sentenced him to death. He was back in court to attend a hearing on a motion for a new trial, the first step in the appeal process.

As he has on numerous occasions, Mr. Rivera objected to any appeal work on his behalf. On Monday, his objections started before defense attorney Peter Johnson could finish speaking a complete sentence.

Senior Judge Albert M. Pickett explained to Mr. Rivera that the law mandates the completion of a motion for a new trial and appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.

"The law insists on the clarification of your conviction," he said. "It's truly bigger than you."

After hearing arguments, the judge gave attorneys two weeks to file written arguments. He did not indicate when he might issue a ruling.

Mr. Rivera confessed that he raped and murdered four women and attempted to kill a fifth before he was arrested. However, he has only been tried for the brutal slaying of Army Sgt. Marni Glista and the sexual assaults of two other women.

Sgt. Glista, 21, was attacked inside her west Augusta home Sept. 4, 2000. She died several days later when life support was disconnected.

Over Mr. Rivera's objection Monday, Mr. Johnson and attorney Jacque Hawk argued that several errors occurred during Mr. Rivera's trial.

Among those alleged errors was the judge's ruling to allow prosecutors to present evidence of the South Carolina killings of Melissa Dingess and Tiffaney Wilson, and the Columbia County slaying of Tabitha Bosdell. Each girl was 17.

Mr. Johnson also contended that the judge improperly allowed Mr. Rivera to serve as his own attorney. It seriously hampered the defense, Mr. Johnson said.

"When I tell people about this trial, I say the defense fought with the court, the defense fought with the district attorney, and the defense fought with Reinaldo Rivera," he said.

District Attorney Danny Craig countered the defense's allegations, saying many of the issues were dealt with properly before the trial began.

Mr. Rivera had the right, as every defendant does, to represent himself, Mr. Craig said.

"This defendant got pretty much whatever he wanted," he said. The problem was he kept changing his mind, Mr. Craig said.



home last updates contact