ESCONDIDO — A Border Patrol agent accused of hacking his estranged wife’s roommates with a hatchet was officially charged July 13 in a Vista courtroom with multiple felonies relating to the assault.
Gamalier Reyes Rivera, 32, faces seven felony counts stemming from the early morning July 9 assault of a male and female, whose names have not been released, at their residence in the 800 block of South Upas Street in Escondido.
At his arraignment, Rivera, of Imperial Beach, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, torture and aggravated mayhem relating to the male victim who is still hospitalized, as well as torture, aggravated mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon relating to the female victim who was treated for her injuries at the hospital and released. Additionally, Rivera faces a single count of burglary.
Superior Court Judge Marshall Hockett set Rivera’s bail at $10 million, saying he believed the defendant was a danger to the community.
Rivera’s next scheduled court appearance is a July 23 readiness conference. His preliminary hearing is set for July 27.
Escondido Police responded to the assault around 1:15 a.m. July 9, Lt. Bob Benton stated in a press release. The hand hatchet was found at the scene.
Officers arrested Rivera shortly after the incident near 9th and Pine streets in Escondido, Benton said. Witnesses identified Rivera as the sole attacker and the estranged husband of one of the residents.
If convicted, Rivera faces up to life in prison, Deputy District Attorney George Loyd said outside the courtroom.
While Loyd said he couldn’t go into further details about the attack, he did say the assault was done with “callousness and indifference.”
Authorities have said Rivera may have mistaken the female victim for his estranged wife.
The day before the attack, a judge ordered Rivera’s wages to be garnished of $2,200 a month for child and spousal support, according to court documents.