A former Border Patrol agent who attacked a couple with a hatchet while they slept in a case of mistaken identity was sentenced Tuesday to four life sentences.
Gamalier Reyes Rivera, 34, was convicted of attempted murder for breaking into an Escondido home in July 2009. Once inside the home, investigators said he planned on attacking his estranged wife, Erika Von der Hyde, and her new boyfriend. Instead, he went into the wrong bedroom and attacked a young man and his girlfriend.
Armed with two hatchets, Rivera left his Imperial Beach apartment about 1 a.m. on July 9, 2009. He took a taxi to the home in the 800 block of South Upas Street, where Chris Anguiano and his girlfriend, Samantha Shaffer, were sleeping.
Anguiano testified that his barking dog woke him up that night. He reached for his glasses before being struck in the chest, back and face.
"He tried to cut my head off," Anguiano told NBCSanDiego. "I thought I was dying."
The victim said he bit the attacker's finger off and then passed out. He was in a coma for two months, left blind and with brain damage.
Shaffer was also cut in the leg, knee and big toe.
Von der Hyde, her boyfriend and her daughter were not injured. They were asleep in other bedrooms at the time of the attack.
"He changed my life forever, but I'm not going to let that stop me, I'm going to show people that you can get your life back, but for him, his life is over," said Anguiano.
Rivera's prison terms will be served consecutively and he is eligible for parole after seven years, but even if granted, he would then start the next life term. There are also an additional two years for another charge.
Prosecutors said the sentence ensures Rivera will not be eligible for release for at least 30 years.
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