FORT WORTH -- Two relatives of a man who was sentenced to 15 years in prison following a rape conviction were also sentenced to jail time this past week for disrupting his trial proceedings.
State District Judge George Gallagher sentenced Betty Barajas to 10 days in jail and the convict’s brother, Aaron Rivera, shown bottom left, was sentenced to four days in jail on contempt of court charges.
A Tarrant County jury deliberated more than 11 hours during a two-day period before convicting Samuel Rivera, 31, of Arlington, of sexual assault, a crime punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. Rivera was accused of raping a woman while she slept after a day of drinking, a press release from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office said.
After learning that Samuel Rivera was accused in past sexual assault of a 13-year-old child and assault cases, the jury deliberated for another 20 minutes before sentencing him to 15 years, the release said.
While the rape victim was addressing the jury on Friday, Barajas tossed an expletive in the victim’s direction and Gallagher placed her in a holdover cell and then later sentenced her to 90 days in jail. On Monday, after Barajas apologized to the victim, Gallagher and his staff, her sentence was reduced to 10 days in jail.
That Friday evening, Aaron Rivera made a rude comment to a juror outside the courthouse and found himself in jail for four days, the release said.
“When you interrupt a rape victim’s moving allocution, or confront a juror in a parking lot after hours, you have earned each and every night in jail that you get,” said Heather Davenport, the Tarrant County assistant district attorney who tried the case with Bill Vassar.
During her impact statement to the court, the victim told Samuel Rivera that he was a digusting excuse for a man and that he made the mistake of raping a fighter and a survivor.
"I am a strong and fearless young woman that has refused to be defeated," the woman said in her statement, which can be read in its entirety here. "I truly pity you, in knowing that you are a sick and sadistic waste of space."-- Mitch Mitchell