Dojo master headed to prison

Dennis Rivera gets 17 years for attack on wife

Author: Paul Venema, Reporter,
Published On: Aug 07 2012 05:49:38 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 07 2012 06:41:13 PM CDT

Before making a decision on how Dennis Rivera, 53, should be punished for shooting and wounding his wife, the jury heard her describe a life of terror.

“He would routinely strangle me -- he would decide that he didn’t like what I would say and he would try to choke the words out of my mouth,” Erica Rivera testified.

She said Rivera would beat her and slam her against the wall if she did not do things exactly the way he wanted them done.

She also said her husband would often demand rough, unconventional sex.

Police said on March 6, 2011, Rivera shot and wounded his wife after learning that she was planning to file for divorce.

On Monday, the jury found him guilty of aggravated assault of a family member.

After deliberating for 90 minutes on Tuesday, the jury sentenced Rivera to 17 years in prison. Prosecutors had asked for a 30- to 40-year sentence.

Rivera’s lawyer asked them to consider probation.

The panel also made what is called an affirmative finding that Rivera used a deadly weapon in the attack on his wife.

The finding means that he must serve half of his sentence, day for day, before parole is a consideration.