LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Detective Jeff Fugate with the Lexington Police homicide unit testified about the arrest of a man accused of beating his estranged wife to death with a baseball bat.
Investigators charged Jose Rivera with murder, assault, and violation of a domestic violence order.
On October 9, police responded to a 911 call on Codell Drive and found the victim, Karina Gutierrez, 38, shortly after midnight. They also found the victim’s teenage daughter and an infant granddaughter. Detective Fugate testified that the daughter told police her father, Rivera, came to their home to ask for her mother who was out with friends. The girl told detectives that Rivera asked if his wife was seeing someone and said he would wait until Gutierrez got home. The daughter apparently warned the mother who parked away from the apartment and managed to make it inside.
Fugate testified that the Rivera then tried to force his way inside the home. The woman attempted to barricade the door with a couch, but police said he broke the door and got inside. The teen witness told police that Rivera began punching Gutierrez who was eventually able to run outside. At that point, the detective testified that Rivera started hitting her in the head with a bat. According to police, the teenager suffered a hit to the head, busted lip, and cracked teeth after flinging herself to try and shield her mother.
The detective went on to tell the court that Rivera’s sister called 911 after he showed up at her house crying and saying “I killed her. I hit her.”
According to Fugate, Rivera’s neighbor later called police saying a baseball bat was in his yard that didn’t belong to him. Police discovered blood and hair fiber found on the bat, which was then sent off for analysis.
The judge sent the case against Rivera to a grand jury.