Estranged husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law to all face trial together on charges related to death of Nicole Montalvo, judge rules

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.

READ: New evidence released in Nicole Montalvo case

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.

READ: Estranged husband, father-in-law of slain St. Cloud woman indicted on different charges

“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.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.