A San Antonio man who pled not guilty to a brutal attack on his former girlfriend was sentenced to 40 years in prison Tuesday. Prosecutors were able to obtain the conviction and sentence in his case without the assistance of the victim.
Juan Antonio Rivera, 49, pled not guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in March. At trial, evidence showed that on Aug. 17, 2019, Rivera beat the victim, a 37-year-old woman, with a metal baseball bat. She suffered head and leg injuries. The victim initially said she had been hit by a car, but once under the medical care of paramedics and doctors, the victim told them her boyfriend assaulted her with a bat. While out on bond, Rivera attacked the victim a second time and was arrested for that crime in March 2020. He has been in jail since then.
Prosecutors were able to proceed on the case with the evidence that included EMS and police testimony and calls Rivera made from the jail telling the victim to lie to the prosecutors about what happened. In the recorded calls, Rivera also intimidated and convinced the victim not to cooperate with the prosecution by not going to court.
“Our team understood why the victim did not want to face this defendant in court. This is a challenge in many family violence cases. We were fortunate that we had enough evidence to prove this case without retraumatizing this victim. While she has lived in fear for nearly three years, I hope that she finds some peace in the fact that this defendant is no longer in a position to hurt her,” said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
Rivera was charged as a habitual offender because he had been convicted of the felony offense of burglary of a habitation by force in 2011 and in 2004. He faced a minimum of 25 years in prison for the family violence case. Judge Ron Rangel sentenced Rivera to 40 years in prison. Rivera must serve at least 20 years before he is first eligible for parole.
Assistant District Attorneys Lauren Scott and Meredith MacIntire of the Family Violence Division prosecuted this case in the 379th District Court. The San Antonio Police Department investigated this offense.