Man pleads guilty to stabbing wife to death in Rochester, then setting fire to his home

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A 49-year-old man pleaded guilty to stabbing his estranged wife to death and setting fire to his own house in Rochester, killing at least 11 animals.

Juan Rivera pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says he stabbed Maribel Diaz, 35, inside her car on Suntru Street in June of 2022.

After finding the woman dead around 10:30 p.m., Rochester Police officers began looking into her estranged husband. Officers found Rivera the next morning at his home on McNaughton Street. When officers arrived, Rivera set fire to the home. Rivera ran from the house but he was arrested and taken to Strong Hospital.

“Mirabel Diaz was beginning to gain her independence from a controlling and toxic marriage before Juan Rivera took her life,” said Assistant District Attorney Patrick Gallagher. “The defendant stabbed and killed a woman he claimed to love, before abandoning her body.”

Rivera is expected to receive a 25 years prison sentence for manslaughter, 1-3 years for arson, and five years of post-release supervision. He will be sentenced on July 18.