20200107-bc-rivas (copy)

Robert Rivas sits in Kern County Superior Court during opening statements in his trial on Jan. 6.

Jurors found a man guilty Tuesday of one of the four most serious charges he faced in a machete attack on his former girlfriend and a bystander who intervened inside a Starbucks in September 2019. 

Robert Rivas, who was charged with two counts of aggravated mayhem, was found guilty of one count of aggravated mayhem and a lesser charge of regular mayhem. On two counts of attempted murder, he was found guilty of a lesser charge of attempted voluntary manslaughter and not guilty of the second charge.

The aggravated mayhem charge carries a possible life sentence.

Rivas was also found guilty of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, felony domestic abuse and misdemeanor resisting arrest, which his attorney said he conceded to during trial.

He was found not guilty of first-degree burglary.

The jury returned its verdict Tuesday afternoon after deliberating since Thursday afternoon.

Rivas, 33, was accused of breaking into his ex's apartment in September 2018 and then chasing her with a machete in hand to a nearby Starbucks on Stockdale Highway. Inside the coffee shop, he then allegedly attacked her with the knife and attacked Blaine Hodge, a bystander, when he tried to stop the attack.

Prosecutor Melissa Allen argued that Rivas tried to kill both victims.

"There’s no reason to arm yourself with a machete to go talk to your ex-girlfriend — that you're mad at for talking to another guy — other than to go kill them," she said during closing statements.

However, Rivas' attorney, deputy public defender Janice Anne Kim, said Rivas never intended to kill, disable or disfigure either victim in the case.

"He could have very easily plunged (the knife) into the chest (of the victims) .. but he didn’t because he didn’t have intent to kill," Kim said during closing arguments. Instead, she said, the victims' injuries were the result of "wild and indiscriminate flails," indicated by a diagonal slashing pattern of the victims' scars.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Feb. 19.

(2) comments


sorry Kim. You had to defend an attempting murderer. You shouldn't need to deal with such people. just doing your job.

All Star


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