A 20-year-old man was convicted Friday of attempted murder for an attack on a jogger in Rossmoor, but jurors deadlocked 11-1 against a sentencing enhancement that would have led to a life sentence, his attorney said.
A mistrial was declared on a sentencing enhancement for premeditation and deliberation in the Oct. 23, 2012, knife attack by James Anthony Rivas on a 27-year-old woman jogging through a residential neighborhood, according to the defendant’s attorney Mark Fredrick.
Jurors found true sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and the personal use of a knife, Fredrick said.
Rivas, scheduled to be sentenced May 22, faces a maximum of 13 years in prison, Fredrick said.
It was about 9 p.m. when Rivas, 18 years old at the time, ran up behind the victim, knocked her down and stabbed her multiple times, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The victim suffered wounds to her face, back, arm and hand, but the injuries were not life-threatening, prosecutors said.
Rivas ran away when a neighbor who heard screaming came over to help, prosecutors said.
“He was approaching her to take her iPod from her when she turned around, startled, and it turned into an attack,” Fredrick told City News Service. “It was a rash act. He was extremely intoxicated at the time.”
Rivas had downed five 40-ounce malt liquor beers before the attack, Fredrick said.
Rivas told a friend before the attack he was “going to get some money,” and then he was seen about 8 p.m. that night begging for change from customers at an Arco station, Fredrick said.
“It really appeared to us it was an attempted robbery that turned into attempted murder,” Fredrick said.
The defense mostly focused on trying to beat the “premeditation and deliberation” rap, which would have made the defendant eligible for a life sentence, Fredrick said.
Rivas appears to have a problem with alcoholism, Fredrick said.
— City News Service