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Jonathan Rivera

Other Puerto Rico Exonerations
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.

Also indicted were Vazquez-Rijos's sister Marcia and Marcia's boyfriend, Jose Ferrer Sosa, on charges of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. Roman-Rivera was released soon after Pabon-Colon confessed to committing the murder alone and said Rivera was not involved. Anhang’s widow fled to Italy.
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 was still awaiting sentencing in 2016.
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.

In June 2013, Vazquez-Rijos was arrested by Spanish police after flying from Italy to Madrid. The FBI, working with Interpol, had notified Spanish authorities after being alerted that she was travelling with her U.S. passport.

In September 2015, after federal authorities in Puerto Rico promised that they would not seek the death penalty, Vazquez-Rijos was extradited to Puerto Rico. In June 2016, Vazquez-Rijos, her sister and the boyfriend were still awaiting trial.
– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 6/8/2016
State:Puerto Rico
County:San Juan
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Gun Possession or Sale
Reported Crime Date:2005
Age at the date of crime:22
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No