BARSTOW • A Barstow man facing a murder trial was never involved in any beating, according to testimony given Monday by a Sheriff's Sergeant and a former Raytheon co-worker of Lawrence Rivera, 40, who is charged in the 2002 death of Kristine Garcia.
In his testimony Friday, Rivera said scratches on his body noted by co-workers and deputies after Garcia went missing were from a fight with a co-worker and a brutal beating at the hands of sheriff's deputies.
Garcia's body was found in open desert off of Yermo Cutoff Road May 22, 2002 — six days after her disappearance. Rivera — who worked with the 26-year-old Garcia at Raytheon and had a brief relationship with her — fled overseas to England, Germany, the Netherlands, and eventually Australia before he could be arrested and was eventually extradited in 2008 after years of appeals.
The prosecution — through testimony from law enforcement — contends Rivera killed Garcia in a struggle and left her body in the desert.
Deputy District Attorney Sean Daugherty finished his cross-examination of Rivera on Monday, again confronting Rivera with contradictions between extradition documents and his own testimony.
Rivera said he did not include any information about being beaten by deputies or Garcia cutting her hand and leaving blood in his car on affidavits because the documents were not a comprehensive list of everything in his case.
"An affidavit is only a summary," Rivera said repeatedly after being questioned.
Daugherty also asked Rivera why he used a different name when Sheriff Deputies came to Australia to apprehend him in 2008. Rivera said he had a job selling paintings and was instructed to use the name on the painting when talking to potential buyers.
When asked why he bought a car, rented an apartment, and started a new job all before leaving for a vacation in Australia, Rivera had no explanation, saying only the date for his trip was tentative. Rivera also said money he said he was saving for the trip was not in his checking account, but another account at a bank he could not recall.
After Rivera left the witness stand, Sheriff's Sgt. Lon Jacobs was recalled and said Rivera never said anything about being beaten when he was questioned. A co-worker Rivera claimed fought him at Raytheon was also recalled, and said he never assaulted Rivera, nor did he have any animosity towards him about Garcia as Rivera claimed.
Rivera's attorney Jim Terrell said he could locate witnesses of a fight between Rivera and co-worker Hal Raster, and Judge Cheryl Kersey gave him a day to locate them for testimony Wednesday.
Terrell also requested a mistrial, calling mention of the more than 40 civil lawsuits Rivera has filed prejudicial. Terrell also wanted a mistrial because of mention of documents related to Rivera's extradition. Kersey denied the motion, saying Daugherty had a right to confront Rivera with statements he wrote.
Testimony in the case is set to continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday. If convicted, Rivera could face 25 years to life in prison.
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