Dana Rivers, a national transsexual rights activist whose name was originally David Warfield, was found guilty Thursday of the 2016 murders of three people in Oakland, California. Prior to butchering two real women and their adopted African son, Rivers, 67, had been a former American Federation of Teachers labor leader and a journalism teacher at Center High School in Sacramento.
The murder verdict
Although originally set to begin in 2019, Rivers’ murder trial began in October.
Rivers originally entered a not-guilty plea, but later changed it to not guilty by reason of insanity.
The Alameda County jury began deliberating on Nov. 15. The jury didn’t need more than a few hours to arrive at their verdict.
The jury found Dana Rivers guilty in the first degree in the Nov. 11, 2016, murders of 57-year-old Patricia Wright, 56-year-old Charlotte Reed, and Wright’s 19-year-old adopted son Benny Diambu-Wright (Toto Diambu). All special circumstances, including vulnerable victims and the use of deadly weapons, were found to be true.
Rivers was also found guilty of arson, for setting fire to the home.
The jury was ordered to return to court on Dec. 5 to try the matter of River’s insanity claim. This will determine whether the murderer goes to a mental health facility or to prison. The death penalty is also an option.
It is presently unclear whether Rivers, if sentenced to prison, will serve in a men’s facility.
Police found Rivers drenched in his victims’ blood outside a home on Dunbar Avenue in Oakland. Inside the residence, Wright and Reed were found stabbed and shot. Diambu had made it outside in his pajamas, but succumbed to his wounds.
Police were dispatched after receiving a 12:21 a.m. call about multiple gunshots.
The Mercury News reported that when officers arrived, they found Diambu-Wright dying in the street. As officers attempted to stabilize him, they heard a loud banging inside the victims’ garage — the sounds of Rivers’ failed cover-up attempt.
Officer Hector Jimenez indicated that Rivers exited the garage wearing an item of Reed’s clothing. After lying about what had occurred, Rivers told police, “There’s a fire inside.”
Rivers had doused the garage with gasoline and set it on fire, seeking to reduce the murder scene to ash.
Having observed that the transsexual was covered in blood, police searched Rivers’ person, finding a bloody screwdriver, a knife, brass knuckles, ammunition, and pepper spray.
Rivers told police, “I know I’m in trouble.”
The Berkeley Scanner reported that police then found and extinguished the fire inside the garage.
Inside the house, Oakland police found Reed dead in bed with a bloody revolver and five spent casings nearby. Reed had been shot twice and stabbed 40 times, 28 times in the face, head and neck.
Wright’s body was found near Reed’s feet with two gunshot wounds and several stab wounds.
The defense attempted to make the case that Reed and Wright had been “engaged in a violent altercation in their bedroom on the night of their deaths.”
Police found a Colt 1911 handgun with a suppressor on the main floor and a bloody knife, a large bag of marijuana, and loaded magazines in the saddlebags of a Harley motorcycle — Rivers’ would-be getaway vehicle.
According to prosecutors, Rivers had sought revenge against Reed after the victim had left a defunct all-women motorcycle club called the Deviants, which reportedly had ties to the Hells Angels. Rivers had served as an enforcer for the club.
Despite a dispute over Reed’s departure from the club, Rivers subsequently attempted to regain the victim’s trust.
In Deputy District Attorney Abigail Mulvihill’s closing argument on Monday, she noted that Rivers “is so manipulative, so fake, that she convinced Charlotte (Reed) she wasn’t a threat any more.”
Prior the murders, Reed had brought Rivers home to work on a “mechanical project.”
According to the East Bay Times, Mulvihill indicated that Rivers waited for the victims to fall asleep before he struck.
In the resulting carnage, Rivers appeared keen on recovering a necklace in Reed’s possession with the biker club’s emblem on it.
While prosecutors focused on the motives surround the biker beef, others have been raised.
The Toronto Sun reported that Rivers had been enraged after being rejected by a lesbian, women’s-only festival called MichFest that prohibited transsexuals from attending.
The murderous activist first received national attention after getting fired by a Sacramento school district.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Rivers had been told by Center Unified School District officials not to discuss the details of his efforts to masquerade as a woman with students. Rivers did so anyway.
When news of these inappropriate conversations got to parents, the parents complained.
In a 3-2 vote, the school board fired Rivers.
In the aftermath of Rivers’ firing, “Today” and “Good Morning America” boosted the transsexual and “solidified her modest celebrity.”
The New York Times printed a glowing profile of Rivers on Sept. 27, 1999, calling Rivers “an excellent teacher” and comparing the transsexual’s experience to “gay teachers who come out of the closet.”
Rivers engaged the school district in months of legal battles and ultimately settled for $150,000.
The murderous transsexual said at the time, “I did nothing to warrant the reactive stance taken against me.”
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