OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — An Osceola County jury decided Wednesday a father and son were both guilty of murdering a local mother.
The family of Nicole Montalvo says, even with the verdicts, they’re still struggling with the loss.
Montalvo was killed, and her body parts spread across two properties belonging to the two convicts- her estranged husband Christopher Otero-Rivera, and his father, Angel Rivera.
Both men were found guilty on three counts Wednesday: second-degree murder, abuse of a dead human body, and tampering with evidence.
For Montalvo’s family, it’s a small measure of justice. They cried and embraced each other in the courtroom as the verdicts were read, knowing it would bring them closure, but with the understanding they’ll wrestle with the loss forever.
“No matter the verdict, when we go home, Nicole won’t be there,” her brother Seven Montalvo said. “We’re going to bear this burden and pain for the rest of our lives.”
For six days, the state laid out its case, saying Otero-Rivera and his father mutilated her and buried her body on two of their properties back in October of 2019.
For their strategy, both defendants pointed the finger at each other, with Otero-Rivera’s team claiming the compelling evidence was on Rivera, while Rivera’s team claimed Otero-Rivera was responsible, and had the most to gain from Montalvo’s death.
In the end, both proved to be unsuccessful as the six-person jury only had to deliberate for roughly 90 minutes before finding both men guilty on all counts.
“It wasn’t easy,” juror Albert Grahm said after the trial. “It’s a sad case. It’s a really sad case.”
Prosecutors said both men wanted the St. Cloud mother to “disappear” so Otero-Rivera could get custody of their son.
That now nine-year-old boy has been without a mother for more than a year and now his father and grandfather are convicted murderers.
“We promised her we would get justice for her and we promised her we would help raise her son in a safe, happy, and healthy environment,” Steven Montalvo says of his nephew. “He has been such an incredible kid these last 18 months.”
The sentencing phase will happen at a later date to be determined.
Both men face the possibility of life in prison. Assistant State Attorney Ryan Williams says that will likely be his recommendation.