Serial killer Rivera still awaiting final judgment

Families of victims grieving, waiting for closure in case

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Reinaldo Rivera confessed to the rape and murder of four local women in 1999 and 2000.
Reinaldo Rivera confessed to the rape and murder of four local women in 1999 and 2000.

Updates come in the mail every few months on letterhead from the Georgia attorney general’s office. But, they rarely say anything new the family of a slain army sergeant cares to hear about death row inmate Reinaldo Rivera.

The last update explained holdups with the death penalty related to concerns that a drug used in executions might cause the inmate pain.

“His pain that he suffers is far less than the pain caused Marni and Chrisilee,” said Wendy Knopp, older sister of Rivera’s first victim, 21-year-old Army Sgt. Marni Glista.

Sgt. Glista’s family waits on the death sentence to be carried out as the lengthy judicial process continues.

“We’re going on 11 years since Marni’s death,” said Knopp, of Puyallup, Wash. “It would be nice to have that final closure, but it’s not up to us either.”

A Richmond County Superior Court jury sentenced Rivera to death in January 2004 for Glista’s murder. Glista was found unconscious and barely breathing inside her home on Sept. 5, 2000, after being attacked the day before. She died Sept. 9 at Doctors Hospital. Glista was strangled, according to the indictment.

Rivera confessed that he raped and killed three other women. A fourth, Chrisilee Barton, survived a brutal stabbing and gave investigators clues that led to his capture.

Especially near the anniversary of Glista’s death and her July birthday, the family wonders what her life would be like today if not for Rivera.

“She was married. Would she have kids; what would her career path look like?” Knopp said.

The death sentence appeal of the serial rapist and killer moved to the Georgia Supreme Court, where a decision to review his request for habeas corpus should be issued by the end of March.

Most recently, Rivera’s lawyer for the habeas petition was granted a 10-day extension by the courts on Sept. 6 to file a brief regarding the inmate’s mental competency. His lawyer, Brian Kammer from the Georgia Resource Center in Atlanta, stated that he needed more time to write a well-researched brief given the court’s demands and his workload for other death penalty cases, Hansen said.

Kammer denied a request for interview.

The state has six months to rule on the case after the court term to which it has been assigned begins this month, according to Jane Hansen, public information officer for the Georgia Supreme Court. The case will be argued through written briefs after the court denied a request to hear oral arguments in June, she said.

As Glista’s family waits on this chapter in their lives to close, they cling to their faith in God and the courts.

“For me and my family, we have a tremendous amount of faith in Christ. He is the final judge and jury,” Knopp said. “I hope the sentence is carried out. I do believe in the justice system.”

At this point in the appeals process, Rivera, who sits on death row in Jackson, Ga., is asking the Georgia Supreme Court to challenge the most recent ruling against him.

On March 31, Superior Court Judge William Fears ordered a final ruling denying Rivera’s petition for habeas.

Rivera insisted from his first confessions that he wanted a death sentence.

According to the judge’s final order, Rivera “consistently, both at trial and during these habeas proceedings, indicated that he has no desire to appeal his convictions and sentences.”

Peter Johnson, an Augusta criminal defense attorney who represented Rivera during his original trial, said Rivera’s appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, if authorized, must continue with the original grounds of the habeas trial.

“If they deny it, then he is dead in the water,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, the only other option for Rivera would be taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court where he would need to raise a constitutional question with the trial. Johnson said he did not know enough about Rivera’s habeas petition to determine if that’s possible.

Richard Dieter, executive director for the Death Penalty Information Center, said the U.S. Supreme Court does not accept many death penalty appeal cases.

If Rivera chooses to take his appeal to federal courts, the process could take even more time, Dieter said.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Have you ever wanted to know what became of a person or issue that once dominated the local news ?

The Augusta Chronicle provides answers to readers’ requests in its regular series, “What ever happened to…?”

Today, we look at convicted serial killer Reinaldo Rivera, who confessed to the rape and murder of four Augusta area women in 1999 and 2000.

Requests can be e-mailed to mike.wynn@augustachronicle.com; mailed to The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928, Attn: Mike Wynn; or placed in the online comment section at augustachronicle.com.

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Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 09/12/11 - 09:30 pm
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0
I do not believe you will
Unpublished

I do not believe you will ever eliminate capital crimes....I do however believe you CAN eliminate those who commit capital crimes.

dougk
3
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dougk 09/12/11 - 09:47 pm
0
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Most likely not all of them
Unpublished

Most likely not all of them and in your zeal to do so, you will eliminate some who are not guilty of capital crimes and, at the same time, fuel the fires that will lead to an increased level of capital crimes (see Classical School and brutalization effect). Be assured, I have no sympathy, in any which way or form, for Mr. Rivera....and, believe me, I have to check my personal knee-jerk (uninformed) reaction at the door when looking at a number of specific instances..

harley_52
22064
Points
harley_52 09/12/11 - 09:49 pm
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0
Reinaldo Rivera brutally

Reinaldo Rivera brutally raped and slaughtered at least four young women and tried his best to make it at least five. None of them were shown the slightest compassion or regard and beyond the horror of their deaths he took their lives away from their families and their friends without any regard.

There is no doubt he's guilty. Evidence abounds. He confessed to the crimes and requested the death penalty.

Ten years from his last crime he lounges in prison eating sufficient food and doing so little work that he has become fat and now decided to pursue endless appeals even now whining about the possibility that the drugs used to carry out his wishes and deserves might cause him a little pain.

I couldn't care less about the "brutalization effect," nor about any other left-wing theory (or theorist) suggesting society is better served by coddling and pampering Rivera and his like for all other potential rapists and murderers to see and for families of the victims to suffer.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 09/12/11 - 09:58 pm
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doug....we will then have to
Unpublished

doug....we will then have to disagree on method and motive...I have no qualms about eliminating a criminal convicted by due process of a brutal capital crime.

dougk
3
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dougk 09/12/11 - 10:08 pm
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Harley, you sing the same
Unpublished

Harley, you sing the same song over and over again.. You have no idea what you are talking about most of the time...there's nothing "liberal" or "conservative" about hard, cold facts...that you seem to know nothing about or get messed up.
PU, I don't think we disagree on method and motive. I understand your prescribed method and motive. It is whether or not it is sound criminal justice policy or not. People: read, read, read, understand there is a whole lot out there....other than your own personal opinion and what you think you know or have observed. A human mind is a terrible thing to waste....

harley_52
22064
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harley_52 09/12/11 - 10:21 pm
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I'll be happy to exchange

I'll be happy to exchange opinions with you, dougk, and if you want to produce "facts" please feel free to include them. I haven't seen any from you lately.

Most of what I say is fact based. Since most of my comments are in the "Opinion" boards, I feel encouraged to include mine as well.

What I said about Rivera was FACTual. I'd be happy to hear your facts regarding the benefits to society by his breathing if you have some of your own to talk about. But please spare me the left-wing theories about crime and punishment. I've had all the left-wing theories I can stomach.

dougk
3
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dougk 09/12/11 - 10:42 pm
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You are ABSOLUTELY correct,
Unpublished

You are ABSOLUTELY correct, Harley. This is an opinion board...I stand corrected. I was just trying to input some scholarly insight...which is way above the consumption level of most people on here. Carry on.

rmwhitley
5526
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rmwhitley 09/13/11 - 05:47 am
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I admit I'm a liberalaphobic.
Unpublished

I admit I'm a liberalaphobic. They are off of their "rockers".

harley_52
22064
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harley_52 09/13/11 - 06:53 am
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"Scholarly insight,"

"Scholarly insight," indeed.

Characterizing the comments you make in here as "scholarly insight" goes a long way towards reinforcing my point about the state of our Education system.

Riverman1
79035
Points
Riverman1 09/13/11 - 07:05 am
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0
Scholarly insight, ha. Doug,

Scholarly insight, ha.

Doug, I'll listen to anything you say, but to imply there is something out there that supports a position without discussing it is like saying nothing said here matters. Why not state the opinions of whatever the heck it is you are referring to?

This is like trying to debate some of the religious subjects where everyone has his own belief and goes tsk, tsk if you don't somehow understand his beliefs even though he doesn't support them with facts.

billyjones1949
1
Points
billyjones1949 09/13/11 - 09:54 am
0
0
I may not have "Scholary

I may not have "Scholary Insight" but I do know what Rivera did and what he confessed to do. Most normal thinking people would not care what pain he recives in his death sentance. Liberal left, now they are a little different.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 09/13/11 - 01:57 pm
0
0
Execute him already. This
Unpublished

Execute him already. This trash should have been put to sleep years ago. I don't need "scholarly insight" to know what needs to be done.

harley_52
22064
Points
harley_52 09/13/11 - 02:20 pm
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dougk says... "People: read,

dougk says... "People: read, read, read, understand there is a whole lot out there....other than your own personal opinion and what you think you know or have observed."

There is a "whole lot out there, dougk, but much of it is one-sided, purposefully misleading, and not necessarily factual. People tend to write things from their own point of view and slant it to their own agenda.

Once people grow up, most of them have learned to draw their conclusions using considerable skepticism in evaluating what they "read, read, read" and like to compare it to what they see, see, see. That process of merging what you read, read, read, and tempering it with what you see, see, see, is generally superior to relying on only one method of gaining information on issues of concern. That melding process is called "thinking."

In other words, dougk, I'm suggesting you might want to think, think, think in the development of your self-acclaimed "scholarly insight" and you'll probably find these discussions more interesting and thoughtful.

happychimer
15797
Points
happychimer 09/13/11 - 04:33 pm
0
0
Everything that happens is

Everything that happens is not because of political parties!Yes I am on the left of the middle. So what! I remember the Rivera case, and he should have been put to death a long time before now.

Jake
31592
Points
Jake 09/13/11 - 06:19 pm
0
0
I am with Rose (sic) on this

I am with Rose (sic) on this one as well. I am so far left in this circular world that I have ended up on the right on this issue. Destroy this piece of worthless vermin who has caused much heartache in this world.

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