man sentenced to three years to life in prison
March 6, 2009 | LOGAN A Hyrum man was sentenced Wednesday
to three years to life in prison after he pleaded guilty
to attempted murder with injury.
Rodolfo Rivas-Martinez, 23, waived his right to a
preliminary hearing and was sentenced in 1st District
Court. Rivas pleaded guilty to attempted murder with
injury, a 1st-degree felony, and was sentenced to an
indeterminate term of not less than three years and
up to life in the Utah State Prison.
Attorney David Perry told Judge Thomas Willmore that
sentencing was being requested because Rivas was on
an INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) hold
and would probably be deported.
Rivas spoke through an interpreter during the hearing.
Willmore explained to Rivas his rights and what it would
mean to give up those rights, along with the associated
penalties. Rivas said he understood and just wanted
to know the sentence.
Rivas was arrested Jan. 17 after he stabbed his girlfriend
in the chest with a knife at their home in Hyrum.
Prosecutor Barbara Lachmar said a couple of days before
the incident, Rivas threatened to kill his live-in girlfriend.
She asked him to leave. Rivas continued the threats
and also threatened to kill their 4-year-old son and
According to Lachmar, Rivas called a friend and asked,
"Do you have a body bag big enough to put Jessica into?"
Rivas was also quoted as telling a friend that Jessica
"was going to get a surprise." Lachmar said Rivas punched
Jessica in the face while she was holding their son,
then took her into the bedroom and held his hand over
her mouth so she could not breathe. Rivas called a friend
and they transported Jessica to the hospital.
Lachmar said had the case gone to trial, the physician
who operated on Rivas' girlfriend would have testified.
Lachmar said the physician was prepared to testify the
steak knife, which was 5 to 6 inches long, was a short
distance from the aorta. Had the aorta been severed,
the victim would have bled to death on the way to the
hospital. Lachmar later said the victim would have died
if not for the good work of the surgeons.
When Willmore asked Rivas why he wanted to be sentenced
and not wait, Rivas said, "I just want to start
"Why did you do this to her?" asked Willmore.
"I was under the influence of drugs," replied Rivas.
Willmore said that a lot of people under the influence
of drugs don't stab their wife. "I don't understand
why the violence escalated," said Willmore.
"I don't know," said Rivas.
According to the court documents, commitment will
begin immediately with Rivas remanded to Cache County
Sheriff's custody for transportation to the prison.
In addition to the prison sentence, Rivas is required
to pay a $10,000 fine plus a surcharge of $8,525.