Skip to main content

Juror Kicked Off of Horrific Dismemberment-Murder Trial for Falling Asleep


Christopher Otero-Rivera (top), and Angel Luis Rivera in a March hearing.

A juror in the horrific dismemberment death of Florida woman Nicole Montalvo, 33, was kicked off of the trial on Tuesday morning for getting shuteye in court. Prosecutors voiced concern that the juror missed testimony against the defendants, the victim’s estranged husband Christopher Otero-Rivera, 33, and his father Angel Luis Rivera, 64. After that, the judge claimed to see the juror fall asleep Monday afternoon.

An alternate will replace Juror 16.

The state is using testimony to show that Otero-Rivera and his father murdered the former’s estranged wife Nicole Montalvo in Oct. 2019 to get full custody of their son. Deputies found the victim’s dismembered remains on the Rivera property in St. Cloud, Florida.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy testified that some bone fragments seemed like they had gone through a wood chipper.

State’s evidence suggests Otero-Rivera’s ankle monitor places him at the scene.

In bolstering their account, the prosecution brought up a former cellmate of Otero-Rivera. Dustin Gonzalez claimed to have been recruited to plant drugs in Montalvo’s car. The father Angel Rivera voiced a preference that Nicole go missing, according to this witness.

Nicole’s mother Elaine Montalvo testified about threats, as well as the tense conflict over child custody.

Nicholas Rivera, who is Christopher Otero-Rivera’s brother and is in prison on child pornography charges, said he saw their father washing a cart in the middle of the night around the time Montalvo went missing.

Charges against Wanda Rivera, 61, who is Otero-Rivera’s mother and Angel Rivera’s wife, were dropped in March. Prosecutors at the time said that cellphone analysis supports the finding that the male defendants removed Montalvo’s vehicle from their property on the morning of October 22, 2019. Contrary to the state’s original belief, the prosecution said there was reasonable doubt that Wanda Rivera had anything to do with helping cover up the crime.

She testified on Monday, saying she only learned through the news that Montalvo’s remains were found on the property.

[Screengrab via WESH 2 News]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: