Originally created 10/26/00

DA to seek death penalty for Rivera



The district attorney filed notice Wednesday he intends to seek the death penalty if Reinaldo J. Rivera is convicted of murder.

The official, written notice was filed the day after Mr. Rivera, 37, was indicted by the Richmond County grand jury on multiple charges including murder in the Sept. 4 fatal attack on Fort Gordon Sgt. Marni Glista, 21.

The notice lists five aggravating factors for a future Richmond County Superior Court jury to consider if Mr. Rivera is convicted of murder. In Georgia, a jury must find at least one aggravating factor to be true beyond a reasonable doubt before it may consider death as a punishment.

District Attorney Danny Craig's notice alleges Sgt. Glista was slain by a killer who was engaged in another felony, rape and aggravated battery, for two aggravating factors; and that her death was "wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved" torture to the victim, depravity of mind, and aggravated battery to the victim, for three aggravating factors.

"The way this case has been handled has been perverted," said Mr. Rivera's defense attorney, Peter Johnson, who was appalled to hear about the notice from a reporter Wednesday instead of from the district attorney's office.

The Richmond County grand jury Tuesday indicted Mr. Rivera on charges of murder, rape and two counts of aggravated sodomy for the attack on Sgt. Glista, who died on Sept. 9. The indictment also accuses Mr. Rivera of the offenses of rape, aggravated sodomy and aggravated assault in connection with a June 29 attack of Tabatha L. Bosdell, 18, whose remains were found this month in Columbia County. The indictment further accuses Mr. Rivera with the offenses of rape, aggravated sodomy and three counts aggravated assault in connection with the Oct. 10 attack of a 18-year-old south Augusta woman who survived.

Mr. Rivera also faces charges in Aiken County where the remains of two other women were found, Tiffaney Wilson and Melissa Dingess, both 17.

Mrs. Wilson's death had remained unsolved since her body was found Dec. 28 in a wooden area off Bettis Academy Road in Aiken County. Mrs. Dingess was listed as a missing person since she disappeared on July 17, 1999, near her Graniteville home.

Mr. Rivera's Oct. 13 arrest in connection with the Oct. 10 attack of a south Augusta teen-ager was quickly followed by his arrest on murder charges in the deaths of Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Dingess and Sgt. Glista. The next day, Richmond County Sheriff's investigators also alerted Columbia County officers where to find Ms. Bosdell's body off Interstate 20 and Wrightsboro Road.