Trial continues for martial arts master accused of shooting wife

Dennis Rivera, 53, is charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping

SAN ANTONIO - Jurors in the trial of a Northwest Bexar County martial arts master accused of trying to kill his wife have had a chance to hear from the wife, herself.

Erica Rivera wrapped up her testimony Friday morning in the case against her ex-husband.

Dennis Rivera, 53, is charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping in the March 2011 shooting.

On the stand Friday, the alleged victim testified that she had filed for divorce about a month before the shooting.

She said Dennis Rivera suddenly showed up at the home that they once shared on Kauai Bay St. and attacked her, putting her in a chokehold and, later, firing a gun.

Erica Rivera told jurors she was able to break free, then tried to run as her husband fired four shots, wounding her once in the arm. She said, afterwards, he cleaned up the blood.

“He went to the master bedroom and grabbed the hydrogen peroxide that was in the bathroom closet,” she said. “Then he came back out and grabbed a towel and was cleaning it up off the carpet.”

Rivera told jurors her husband eventually allowed her to call 911. She said he then left and took the gun with him to his karate studio.

Reports at the time showed Bexar County sheriff’s deputies found the weapon there when they arrested him.

Defense attorney Scott Simpson pointed out that the gun used in the shooting belonged to Erica Rivera, not her husband.

He also had her discuss details about the weeks before she filed for divorce, including testimony that she had been having an affair ,and offered her husband $100,000 to go away.

As of noon Friday, Simpson said Dennis Rivera would be taking the stand in his own defense.

Attorneys for both sides said it’s likely the jury won’t get a chance to weigh in on the case until Monday, at the earliest.


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