Former border patrol agent sentenced to 30 years for hatchet attack

A man attacked by another man with a hatchet faced his attacker in court Tuesday. A former border patrol agent was sentenced for trying to kill his ex-wife's roommate when he meant to kill her.  KUSI's Ed Lenderman was in court for the sentencing and reports on the details.

The victim faces life-long injuries from the attack, which include blindness and brain damage.

When former Border Patrol agent Gamalier Rivera broke into a house in Escondido in July of 2009, authorities say he was looking to kill his estranged wife and her boyfriend.

Armed with two hatchets, he went into the wrong bedroom and mistakenly attacked two of the wife's roommates, one of whom was Chris Anguiano. “I had a lot of dreams, I was supposed to be the one to take care of my parents, now they take care of me,” said Anguiano.

Anguiano, a nursing assistant, is now blind and has brain damage.  Anguiano's girlfriend was also severely injured.

His family and friends have been incredibly supportive and they packed the courtroom Tuesday.
Chris' mother was overcome with emotion as she addressed Rivera.  “Every mother has a dream, I had a dream for my son, (and) you took away part of mine.”

As much anger as there was directed at the defendant, who had tears in his eyes at one point, the remarks were tempered by tributes to Chris in dealing with a life-altering incident.

Then Rivera said he wanted to speak.  He said he was extremely remorseful and wished he could make amends.  “I do want you to know I am sorry. I can't imagine what you are going through, but I pray you make the best out of it,” said Rivera.
Rivera was sentenced to four consecutive life terms with the possibility of parole.

Outside court, Anguiano found Rivera's words empty. “It doesn't mean anything, if he made the apology. Once he hit me he should have realized he had the wrong person and stopped,” said Anquiano.

The four consecutive life terms mean Rivera will have to serve 30 years before he's eligible for parole.

Judge Runston Maino told Rivera, “you left a trail of devastation behind you.”

Anguiano is now at a blind school in Los Angeles, learning skills that he hopes will make him more independent.

Categories: KUSI