A Single Hair

After a severely flawed trial, Michael Rivera was convicted of killing a little girl. New DNA evidence may help him.


Even if Rivera beats the odds and his death sentence is overturned, he has a life sentence to carry out for the attempted murder of the girl at Green Glades. But Rivera now contends he is innocent of that crime, too. If he were to somehow go free, would he return to his sexually deviant and dangerous ways? "I would be OK now," he answers. "I still fantasize but not about what I used to fantasize about. Now it's females on television or a female that I correspond with."

In prison Rivera says he's developed a routine of reading (mostly the Bible), writing letters, exercising, and watching his 13-inch black-and-white TV. He's converted to Judaism (hence the yarmulke) and has unofficially changed the spelling of his first name to "Michayl," which is the name he uses in an ad on a Website called prisonpenpals.com. "I'm not into games," he writes in the ad, "because life is too short and has gotten much shorter since being convicted unjustly and being placed here on Death Row in 1987. I need help because these people are serious about taking my life. I'm not all gloomy mind you. I enjoy a great joke and I do smile a lot, although not as much as I used to, it seems."

McClain believes in his heart the state is prepared to execute an innocent man
AP World Wide
McClain believes in his heart the state is prepared to execute an innocent man

The ad sparked a relationship with a Dutch citizen, his new fantasy woman. "She's very nonjudgmental," he says. "She believes me when I say I didn't do it."

Rivera hopes the BSO review will provide a few more believers. "I prayed for it all these years, all these years, that the truth would come out," he says. Now it's up to science to determine if the truth is really on the side of Rivera, whose life may depend upon a single hair.

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2 comments
vicdevore
vicdevore

I lived on that field in Lauderdale Lakes from birth, 1979 until 1987.  I remember a time when I was riding my bike with my old brother through the field, the same field Staci rode her bike through, and I can remember making it to the rear parking/truck loading area behind Winn Dixie.  I remember a huge puddle in the middle of the parking lot, and I remember a van with two men, and I remember my brother being alarmed or scared, the van seemed to be stuck in the water, and the men in the van seemed unusually and suspiciously interested in us, and my brother re-routed us towards Oakland Park Blvd so we could make it back home safely.  I don't know if this was before or after Staci was murded, but I would assume it was before.  This is a memory that somewhat haunting because I know what happened to Staci... very creepy.


vicdevore
vicdevore

I lived on that field in Lauderdale Lakes from birth, 1979 until 1987.  I remember a time when I was riding my bike with my old brother through the field, the same field Staci rode her bike through, and I can remember making it to the rear parking/truck loading area behind Winn Dixie.  I remember a huge puddle in the middle of the parking lot, and I remember a van with two men, and I remember my brother being alarmed or scared, the van seemed to be stuck in the water, and the men in the van seemed unusually and suspiciously interested in us, and my brother re-routed us towards Oakland Park Blvd so we could make it back home safely.  I don't know if this was before or after Staci was murded, but I would assume it was before.  This is a memory that somewhat haunting because I know what happened to Staci... very creepy.


 
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