N.Y. man pleads guilty to fatally stabbing wife, setting home on fire, killing 11 animals

A 49-year-old man pleaded guilty this week to charges related to the 2022 stabbing death of his 35-year-old estranged wife.


Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley announced Tuesday, May 23, that Juan Rivera pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and fourth-degree arson. He faces 25 years plus five years of post-release supervision for homicide and a consecutive one to three years for arson.


According to Doorley, on June 17, 2022, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Rochester Police responded to Suntru Street, where they discovered Maribel Diaz deceased inside her car from apparent stab wounds. Officials located Diaz’s estranged husband, Juan Rivera, at his home owned by his parents on McNaughton Street the next day.


Upon officials’ arrival, Doorley said Rivera set fire to the home, and 11 animals died as a result. Rivera reportedly fled the scene but was eventually detained and transported to Strong Memorial Hospital.


Police initially arrested Rivera on charges of arson and homicide.


Rivera is scheduled to be sentenced July 18.


Assistant District Attorney Patrick Gallagher said, “Mirabel Diaz was beginning to gain her independence from a controlling and toxic marriage before Juan Rivera took her life. The defendant stabbed and killed a woman he claimed to love, before abandoning her body.”


Doorley added, “Juan Rivera is every woman’s worst nightmare. Mirabel Diaz was only 35 years old and was beginning to live her life away from Juan Rivera for the first time in two decades. She wanted to feel safe from her estranged husband, but Juan Rivera would not accept this and violently took her life.”

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