Originally created 10/15/00

Family doubts slaying link



For a Seattle family, a phone call from the Richmond County Sheriff's Department late Thursday was a mixed blessing.

It brought relief, but also more questions.

Art Perius said a Georgia investigator told him a man in custody confessed to killing his daughter in west Augusta. He had been waiting for news since early September, when Army Sgt. Marni Glista, 21, was found brutally attacked in her home. She died four days later.

Relatives had been keeping up with developments in the case via the Internet and read with interest newspaper accounts of an 18-year-old south Augusta woman who was wooed to her home by a supposed photographer, then raped and stabbed.

It didn't add up when her alleged attacker - who police said offered to photograph his victim for $150 and a chance at more modeling work - was pinned with his daughter's slaying, Mr. Perius said.

"I don't even know how to put it," he said. "It doesn't seem to be the same way."

Sgt. Glista, an imaging analyst for a military intelligence battalion at Fort Gordon, seemed too intelligent to fall for the scheme that nearly killed the 18-year-old, her father said. She was petite and attractive, but her passion was the military, not modeling, he said.

A back door was reportedly forced open before the Glista attack. In last week's attack, the south Augusta teen allowed the man into her home.

Sgt. Glista and her husband, Jason, had held a party at their home the weekend before the attack. It was a going-away party for Mr. Glista, also a soldier, who was being deployed to Kuwait.

It led to speculation that Sgt. Glista's killer was an acquaintance.

"They'll have to convince me," Mr. Perius said. "I might be wrong. I know there's a lot we don't know."

Reinaldo J. Rivera, 37, of North Augusta, has been charged not only with Sgt. Glista's slaying but also with the deaths of Tiffaney Shereese Wilson, Melissa Dingess and an unidentified young woman found in Columbia County on Saturday.

In the Glista case, he also was charged with rape and aggravated sodomy. Richmond County investigators have refused to discuss the nature of her attack.

Though last week's attack was not immediately linked to Sgt. Glista's death, Maj. Ken Autry said that when the facts come out in court, the similarities will be clear.

"When everything's unveiled, there'll be no doubt in anybody's mind that he was the correct person," Maj. Autry said.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or jedwards92@hotmail.com.