LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — A Lancaster man was convicted on Thursday for the 2010 murder of his wife and the burning of his family home, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.
Carlos Montalvo-Rivera, 55, was found guilty by a jury on one count of first degree murder, three counts of attempted homicide, one count of arson, and one count of risking catastrophe.
“All the evidence over the years, everything has ever only pointed to him, nobody else,” said Jennifer Ponessa, who prosecuted the case. “He lied since day one in this investigation. He could not give major details of what happened to him that night.”
Assistant District Attorneys Christine Wilson presented evidence from a forensic pathology expert that asserted Montalvo-Rivera’s wife died of asphyxia and smoke inhalation on the floor of the bedroom of their North Plum Street home. However, the victim was alive when the house fire began.
The district attorney’s office says Montalvo-Rivera had poured gasoline up the steps and into the room where his wife was and set the house on fire while three children were in the house.
“He knew she was in there because he left her in there on the floor where he killed her. Then he set the fire in order to get rid of as much evidence as possible,” Ponessa added.
The district attorney’s office says Montalvo-Rivera claimed intruders broke in, killed his wife, and set the house on fire due to his brother cooperating with the Drug Enforcement Agency in an unrelated case.
Neighbors testified that they helped save the three children by going on the roof next door.
A family member also testified that he heard Montalvo-Rivera say he would “kill his wife like a dog,” despite Montalvo-Rivera’s testimony that he and his wife had a happy marriage, according to the district attorney’s office.
Montalvo-Rivera is facing life in prison with sentencing scheduled for a later date.