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Victim infuriated by plea bargain for man who left him to die

Created: 08/06/2014 5:37 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A plea bargain deal for an admitted gang member infuriates an Albuquerque man who was carjacked, stabbed repeatedly and left to die. Paul Mueller thinks the deal is entirely too sweet for 20-year-old James Rivera, who he says masterminded the attack on him back in 2011.

Mueller was in Bernalillo County Children's Court Wednesday morning to check out Rivera's plea bargain, who was a juvenile when the crimes took place in 2011. Mueller says Rivera begged him to give him and his buddy, Rikki Maestas, a ride home. He said they directed him to a dead end street where Maestas stabbed him 24 times with a knife. He said they stole his Jeep and left him to die. Neighbors called 911 and saved his life.

Mueller argued against the plea bargain, but the judge accepted it. 

"The message to anybody like him is that you can rob at free will," Mueller said. "There are not really any consequences, and if you rob, and say, cripple somebody, or leave them paralyzed or whatever, well it's 18 months. It's basically a ticket to kill."

In court, Rivera had little to say except that he understood the terms of his plea bargain deal. The court is scheduled to rule on Sept. 30 whether Rivera should be sentenced as an adult or a juvenile. Either way, it appears that he won't get more than 18 months in prison.


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