On Wednesday, February 2, for his hatchet attack on two sleeping persons more than a year ago, former Border Patrol agent Gamalier Rivera was found guilty of assault, causing great bodily injury, and aggravated mayhem.
The two persons who suffered hatchet wounds, Chris Anguiano and Samantha Shaffer, testified in a trial that began January 26 in the Vista Courthouse. Both persons said they had never seen Rivera before the night of the attack. On July 8 of 2009, a judge ordered Rivera to increase his spousal and child-support payments from $1200 to $2200; Rivera took a cab that same night from Imperial Beach to Escondido, where his not-quite ex-wife was sleeping in the home of her new lover.
A jury of eight men and four women also found Gamalier Rivera guilty of the attempted murders of now-ex-wife Erika Von Der Heyde and her boyfriend Jesus Vinas. Testimony suggested that Rivera mistakenly went to the wrong bedroom in the darkened house at a little after 1 a.m. on the morning of July 9, 2009, and attacked the two strangers with one of the two hatchets he had brought.
The defendant took the stand in his own defense, claiming he brought the hatchets to scare his wife into giving him more custody time with their then-seven-year-old daughter. Gamalier Rivera claimed he then hacked at Chris Anguiano in self-defense when the larger man came at him in the darkened bedroom.
After the verdict, one juror said Rivera showed a “simmering emotional state” that indicated “he possibly could lose control” while he was in the witness box. Another juror said of the defendant, “He would have been better off not testifying.”
Judge Runston Maino ordered Rivera back to court March 29 for sentencing.