Karate master guilty on assault charge

Dennis Rivera will face punishment phase on Tuesday

Author: Paul Venema, Reporter, pvenema@ksat.com
Published On: Aug 06 2012 06:04:17 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 06 2012 06:17:56 PM CDT

A businessman who ran a karate studio is accused of trying to kill his estranged wife and then holding her captive in their home last year.

Dennis Rivera, 53, is on trial facing aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping charges.

Late Monday the jury found Rivera guilty of the assault charge and not guilty of the kidnapping charges.

Rivera was upset, prosecutors told the jury during closing arguments Monday, because his wife of 10 years, Erika, had filed for divorce.

“He was no longer in control and that made him very, very, very angry,” prosecutor Michael De Leon told the jury.

Rivera allegedly shot at his estranged wife four times, hitting her in the arm.

Defense Attorney Scott Simpson argued that the state had no solid evidence.

“There is enough reasonable doubt to return a not guilty verdict,” Simpson argued.

He is facing a sentence range from 5 to 99 years to life in prison.

Testimony in the punishment phase will begin on Tuesday.