OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A judge ruled Thursday that the estranged husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law of Nicole Montalvo will all go to trial at the same time for charges relating to her death.
Investigators said the 30-year-old Osceola County mother was found dead on property owned by her in-law’s family after disappearing last fall.
Her estranged husband, Christopher Otero-Rivera, and father-in-law, Angel Rivera, are both charged with second-degree murder. Her mother-in-law, Wanda Rivera, is charged with accessory after the fact to the murder.
Prosecutors allege she moved Montalvo’s car and tried to get rid of the excavator used to bury her body after she was killed.
Wanda Rivera’s attorney asked a judge Thursday to have her trial held separately from her husband and son.
“Because of the nature of the crime, Mrs. Rivera will not be able to have a fair jury, the jury will confuse the issues,” defense attorney Alexis Carter said.
But state prosecutor Ryan Williams argued most of the evidence is the same and there is no legal reason not to try the cases together.
“I can’t understand why we would call 50 witnesses, or approximately 50 witnesses, twice in a case where we have to prove the same thing in both instances,” Williams said.
The judge agreed and ruled that the trials will be held together.
Prosecutors also said Angel Rivera has recently come forward and blamed the entire murder on his son, Christopher, but they said they don’t necessarily believe him.
© 2020 Cox Media Group