Jonathan Rivera

On the night of September 22, 2005, Adam Anhang, a multi-millionaire Canadian real estate developer and chief executive officer of an internet gambling website, left the Dragonfly restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico after having dinner with his wife, Aurea Vazquez Rijos, where they discussed the terms of their pending divorce.
 
On a nearby busy street corner, they were attacked by a man who fatally stabbed and beat Anhang. Vazquez Rijos was also struck in the head, but survived. After the murder, Vazquez Rijos, who had been married to Anhang for six months, refused to cooperate with authorities and went to Europe.
 
On October 12, 2005, Jonathan Rivera, 22, who worked as a waiter at the Pink Skirt restaurant, which was owned by Anhang’s widow, was charged with the attack.
 
Rivera went on trial in September 2007 and was identified as the killer by a witness who was on the street at the time of the attack. Although there was no physical evidence linking him to the murder, Rivera was convicted on October 10, 2007 and sentenced to 99 years in prison.
 
Shortly after the trial, the Puerto Rico Department of Justice re-investigated the case and discovered that shortly after the murder a Puerto Rican police investigator had received information that the murder was committed by a Puerto Rican man named Alex Pabon Colon. The investigator also received information suggesting that Rivera was innocent. None of the information was turned over to Rivera’s lawyers.
 
On June 4, 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Puerto Rico indicted Pabon Colon as well as Anhang’s widow on murder and conspiracy charges, alleging that she hired Pabon Colon for $3 million to kill her husband. Pabon Colon confessed to committing the murder alone and said Rivera was not involved. Anhang’s widow fled to Italy where she remains pending extradition.
 
On June 8, 2008, Rivera was released from prison on bond. The charges against him were dismissed on September 15, 2008.
Pabon Colon pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
 
In September 2010, Rivera settled a federal wrongful conviction lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.
 
After the murder, Anhang’s widow filed a lawsuit against Anhang’s parents, contending she was entitled to a share of his wealth. In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit.
 
– Maurice Possley
 
 

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012

 

State:Puerto Rico
County:San Juan
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Gun Possession or Sale
Reported Crime Date:2005
Convicted:2007
Exonerated:2008
Sentence:Life
Race:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age:22
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No