Murdered soldier's family continues scholarship fund

Marni Glista fell prey to a serial killer in Augusta nearly eight years ago, but her family is committed to making sure something good comes out of the tragedy.


Sgt. Glista's family is trying to keep alive a scholarship started in her name by the Army. They took over the scholarship a few years ago when her fellow soldiers at Fort Gordon were deployed.

The family tried several ways of raising funds before settling on a silent action last year. This year's event was held this month in Auburn, Wash.

Wendy Knopp, Sgt. Glista's sister, wrote in an e-mail that the money has gone toward college tuition, youth camps, mission trips and other projects. The first scholarships were given in May 2006 at Fort Gordon. Sgt. Glista's parents donated money to start the fund.

"There is no age limit, and no legitimate request has ever been denied," Mrs. Knopp said. "We believe we have made a significant difference to those we have given scholarships."

Sgt. Glista was one of four victims of Reinaldo Rivera. She was found barely alive inside her Oakridge Drive home the day after Labor Day 2000. The 21-year-old was removed from life support several days later after her family and husband traveled to Augusta.

A month later, on Oct. 13, Richmond County sheriff's investigators arrested Mr. Rivera. He confessed to raping and leaving Sgt. Glista for dead and doing the same to another young Augusta woman who survived.

He also confessed to raping and killing three other young women: Tabitha Bosdell, whose remains were found in Columbia County; Tiffaney S. Wilson; and Melissa Dingess, whose remains were found in Aiken County.

Mr. Rivera was sentenced to death in Richmond County Superior Court in January 2004 for Sgt. Glista's murder. He is on death row in Jackson, Ga.

"By doing the fundraiser and giving scholarships, we are able to keep Marni's memory alive," Mrs. Knopp said. "It gives us a practical way to benefit others in ways Marni would have done if still on Earth."

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or


Donations can be sent to Sgt. Marni Perius-Glista Fund, c/o Wendy Knopp, 7920 188th St., CT. E., Puyallup, WA 98375. The fund is a registered nonprofit organization; donations are tax-deductible. For more information, e-mail