Family says 25 years is not enough for the killing of their loved one

[anvplayer video=”5185848″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Juan Rivera, 50 was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison for manslaughter, plus another one to three years for arson.

Maribel Rivera-Diaz was trying to get out of an abusive marriage when she was stabbed to death in a car on June 18, 2022.

“I opened the door, rushed out of the car and found my sister, naked, full of blood, stuffed. I begged her, I shook her, ‘please get up, please get up.’ I knew she was gone,” Maria Diaz said.

Now all Diaz has of her sister are memories. What she holds on to most is an urn with Maribel’s ashes. It’s how she talks to her now. She told her the man who killed her is behind bars.

“He got 25 years for her murder,” Diaz said.

Juan Rivera, Maribel’s estranged husband, also got up to three years for setting his McNaughton Street home on fire when police tried to take him into custody. Ten dogs, a rabbit and ferret all died inside. Rivera pleaded guilty in May to manslaughter and arson.

Marsha Augustin: Is that justice for you?

Maria Diaz: No, that’s 28 years I would also be alive hopefully, my dad, my mom — we’ll still live with this every day knowing that my sister is not coming back.

For Maribel’s dad, David Diaz, it was an emotional day. He says the prison sentence is not enough for taking the life of his daughter.

“I’m never going to see my daughter again — that hurts me. I’m never going to forgive him,” Diaz said.

In a statement Maria read in court, she addressed her sister’s killer and said, “I hope you remember every day how you cowardly took Maribel’s life.”

Maribel’s brother-in-law Ezequiel Santana was there when they found Maribel dead. He spoke about how kind, sweet, smart, and caring she was. He says she was full of life.

“Don’t stay quiet, no woman deserves to get the type of abuse that she endured for over 20 years,” he said.

If you’re a victim of domestic violence in need of help, you can call the 24/7 hotline for the Willow Domestic Violence Center at 585-222-SAFE (7233).